Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, the lights, the parties, the gatherings, the presents, the giving, the receiving, the songs. I actually love all of it. It is just shadowed so darkly that it is hard to see the lights, and the smiles, and the love, and the peace. Spending Christmas without your child is brutal. You wonder if others realize you are sad underneath the err hmmm glitter. You wonder if anyone remembers your baby before you bring them up. You wonder if this will be the year that you finally make it through the holiday season with out the crash and burn of suicidal depression.
There is no magic answer to ensure it doesn't happen, there is no magic answer to get through it once it does. I rely heavily on routine of my non routine, family, puppies and friends. Seriously that is what gets me through. I am utterly grateful to have all of these elements in my life.
Most of us know parents who have lost children, you are reading this so you probably know me, but other than me... you know someone. You may not know exactly what to do to help them through such a heart wrenching time of the year, you may wonder if it would be ok.... trust me it is ok and welcomed, it may not be the cheerfulness of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and more the emotional toll of Silent Night but you can do it, your 15 minutes of uncomfortable is worth a moment of joy for someone with an eternally broken heart.
Buy a special Christmas Tree ornament for them, or even better yet for YOUR tree, send the parents a card and a photo showing that the ornament is in memory of their child so every year as you decorate you include them.
Spend some quiet time with them, ask for a coffee date or a glass of wine in a quiet restaurant, let them know that you have been thinking of them and their child and ask them to share with you a Christmas memory.
Send a Christmas floral bouquet from their angel in heaven.
Walk right up to them and hug them (if you are close enough... inappropriate hugging probably isn't a good thing) let them know that an angel sent it to them.
If they call, text, email, facebook and ask to hang out or for you to do XYZ try to make every effort, I know from experience this time of year my comfort place is at home alone, if I am asking I probably need a dose of peopling and a little extra love.
Are they a writer? Get them a beautiful journal, let them know when you saw it you thought of them and that it would be perfect to write down memories and stories of their angel in and that you would be love to read it.
Do they go to church? Does your church do a special candle or flower purchase at Christmas, purchase one in their child's memory, please see about about wondering if anyone else remembers, it is truly a gift when someone else does.
Send a gift from their angel.
I know you may be thinking these are stupid, but as a mama spending her 5th Christmas without her baby girl I am speaking from my broken heart. You may wonder won't these things hurt, sure they will, everything hurts but the joy in knowing someone else remembered will override it. You may also wonder if it will make them cry, probably and that is ok, again see my statement above, you can survive a few minutes of tears, we have survived, days, weeks, months, and years of them.
My final thoughts, think outside of the box, let them know you care, and above all give them a moment of remembrance during this joyous but difficult season.
Peace and Love,