5 Ways You Can Support Families of Loss Around the Holidays

photo(11)Holidays after loss are difficult. I started to write this intro five other more “cheery” ways, but there is just no other way to say it. The joy, the celebration, and the festivities are not the same when someone is missing. Losing a baby – a little life – leaves a hole bigger than you could ever imagine. Our family has been through some big ups and down in these last weeks. Today, I wanted to share 5 simple ways that you can show your love and support to families of loss around the holidays.

1. Find a way to mention the baby that was lost. Weather it be during a family prayer, or in conversation, say the child’s name a positive way. Don’t be afraid of causing more pain. Mentioning the little one in heaven will mean a lot to mommy and daddy. At two different Thanksgiving dinners, our family did this for us. Although I had to choke back the tears from erupting, I was so thankful that Esther was remembered and mentioned out loud.

2. Give the family a personalized ornament with the baby’s name on it. A lot of companies make personalized items that are inexpensive. This can be a very meaningful keepsake. Another idea is to get a family ornament with everyone’s name, including the baby in heaven. We have one of each of these hanging on our tree this year, and they are very special.

3. Make a donation to a ministry or cause in honor of the baby’s life. Many organizations such as Gospel for Asia have a unique catalog that allows you to send life-changing gifts to families in need all around the world. A gift like this allows grieving parents to feel like their child’s life has meaning and is able to touch other lives.

4. Create an environment at family gatherings where grief is acceptable along with the joy. Many parents (myself included) feel both joy and sadness in this season. Making a safe place for true mixed emotions can be very helpful. While it is not necessary to act depressed around those who are grieving, it is kind to recognize and acknowledge the hurt and sadness they certainly feel. Don’t be surprised if you see tears being shed, or if someone needs to excuse themselves to another room for a few minutes. Sometimes, unexpected things can trigger memories and tears, so give space to those grieving when needed. A couple times this week I had a hard time “getting it together.” I was out and about, but I just couldn’t keep the tears from coming. Then I felt guilty that I was being a downer for everyone else. Knowing that my family understands takes some of the pressure off.

5. Give a special gift in memory of the child. While you may feel hesitant to “broach the subject” by giving a memory gift, you can be very sure the parents have not in any way forgotten. They are thinking about their baby. Acknowledging this with a special gift will likely mean more than you know. I have received memory gifts from many people throughout this year. Each one has been very dear to me, and I am so thankful for each person who took the risk on my emotions to show they believe my baby is worth being honored. This Christmas, I purchased a tiny heart locket for a fellow loss mom. I plan on giving it in memory of her three babies in heaven. Creative gifts like this can really make the holiday season feel just a little better.

Although holidays after loss are tough, you can help make them a little easier.

Thank you to all of my thoughtful friends and family members who are doing this for me.

Comments

  1. These are all such great ideas and I love your Christmas ornament of the whole family. Thanks for sharing

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