Thursday, December 10, 2009

Passing it on

The following was given to me by my SIDS and kids counsellor and I found it really helpful. I copied it out for some friends of mine and thought I may as well post it here while I am at it.

*Quick note: it is really nice and thoughtful to include the baby or child that has died in a Christmas card. If you dont mention the babies name or anything about what has happenned it feels to the family like you have forgotten about her or that you would really just rather not mention that unpleasant business again!*

This was given to me by SIDS and Kids but it is in the Queensland newsletter for SANDS (December 2004)

25 suggestions to help the newly bereaved

1. Buy tissues

2. Dont worry about decorations. If you want to place a few decorations around, do. If you dont want to, dont.

3. Spend time with a few close friends or family members and share fond memories of your child.

4. Dont tire yourself out shopping for long periods of time like perhaps you used to do. You have less emotional and physical energy now.

5. Consider getting away for Christmas - to a hotel, the beach or someplace else.

6. Remember Christmas signifies hope - Jesus was born to set the captives free and bring peace. This is the real meaning of Christmas, not presents, glitter or who can bake the best cookies.

7. Treat yourself kindly

8. Consider online shopping for gifts.

9. Breath in the night air and search the sky for bright stars.

10. Dont feel you should or must go to every function you get invited to.

11. Spend time writing about your child.

12. Buy candles in childs favourite colour and light them in her memory

13. Hug those you love

14. Write a card to another bereaved parent or sibling

15. Rent a funny movie and laugh

16. Talk to another bereaved parent about the loneliness you feel

17. Make a banner that says 'we miss you (insert child's/babies name) this christmas' and hang on your front porch. Neighbours will be reminded of your child and perhaps realise it is a sad season for you.

18. Compose a letter or poem to your child

19. Dont expect to feel like you used to. There is a clear void in your life now.

20. Reach out to someone who is needy. It always feel good to give to someone less fortunate

21. Know that every christmas after this one will be less tough

22. Dont feel like you have to keep up with old traditions. If you dont want to send cards this Christmas then dont.

23. There never is nor ever will be the 'perfect' christmas. Be reminded that even when your child was living, there were flaws in this season. Your neighbours who seem to 'live the easy life' will not have a stress free holiday.

24. Create a new tradition in honour of your child- serious or silly- so that you are including him/her in a unique way during this month

25. Buy a gift for someone in memory of your child.

This was in the December issue of the SIDS and Kids newsletter. It was written by a real mother and the issues raised are directly related to her family but I think it is a good starting point.

The letter:

Dear Friends and Family,

This message is to say a heartfelt thanks to you all for acknowledging all of our four girls this year, whether by writing all their names in a card to us or by simply acknowledging that we have four daughters and not three.

Christmas is a real challenge for any bereaved parents and this, our fifth Christmas in these shoes is no exception. Despite knowing that this time of year may catch us unawares and knowing that we will never stop being bereaved parents, today, I unexpectantly experienced the breathtaking sadness and tearful disappointment that comes when someone makes an unfortunate comment or action that seems to show that, to them at least, Ron and I only have three children, or, that lija never was, or isn't part of our family today. This unpleasant experience in turn made me appreciate you very dear people who continue to mention Lija's name from time to time, to write in your Christmas cards to us amongst the other girls names, to remember her birthday or to have a small gift for her. These things are vital in keeping a bereaved parent going in a time when tears are never far away and the happiness of Christmas is mixed in with sadness.

So, whether you remember and acknowledge all our girls because it just seems right to you to do so and not miss any of them out, whether you do so because we have asked you to, or whether you think we are nuts and you are prompted by the fear that you'll be attacked while you sleep if you dont mention Lija (ha ha!!!!) doesn't matter. What matters is that you are showing our family that you have the courage to follow our lead in knowing what is right for us and what we need in order to survive this time of year. You are also showing us that you respect and acknowledge all our girls and that you care for us as a family.

So, thankyou! May Christmas bring some lovely memories and experiences to you all.


(Parents names) and all four girls

I hope this helps! Much love and hugs and thoughts for those that are finding this time hard.

1 comment:

Polka Dot Rabbit said...

Just wanted to note how impressed I am with your thoughtful blog. I am in my 30's and I lost my twin brother to suicide in 2007. I know it's not that same, as each person's experience of grief is very unique but I found this post particularly helpful as Christmas and birthdays are still extremely painful for me, even if I am able to function 'normally' most of the time. So, I just wanted to say thankyou for your honesty and to let you know I am thinking kind thoughts of you xx