Guideline for December

A member of my support group shared the following. I believe it came from a newsletter written by Cyssi over at The Angel Connection.

This will help anyone get through the toughest month of the year. While everyone around you is busy with Christmas preparations, you might feel like me and find it difficult to keep the tears away, let alone think about Christmas presents, decorations, and what will be on the menu. If December is the month when you lost that special someone too, then my heart goes out to you, because the pain must be unbearable. I’m so sorry. {{{hugs}}}

This month is the time to remember these words, “Be kind to yourself.”

Use this calendar as a guide line to help you through the month of December.

1 Begin making a special tree ornament for your child. Cross-stitch, ornament kits, angels, are all good ideas. Or engrave the name on a beautiful brass ornament.

2 If you are sending holiday cards, consider signing your child’s name or use a special symbol in their memory. A lovely sticker or stamp is a quick and easy solution.

3 Excuse yourself from social engagements if you feel uncomfortable with them. Take time to reflect on the life of your child. Always hold on to the LOVE.

4 Write a love letter to your child. Tell him or her how much you miss them and wish they were here. Seal it in an envelope and put it in a safe place.

5 Shop for Christmas on one of those “good” days, choose gifts from a catalogue, or have a good friend shop with or for you. Try to rest as much as possible.

6 Cook meals in double portions and freeze half for a time when you are feeling tired or overwhelmed. Use paper plates and napkins. Do things the easiest way.

7 Tie ribbons on a tree in memory of your child. Blue for a son; pink for a daughter; white for a baby whose gender is unknown, or use your child’s favourite colour. Tie ribbons to denote how old your child would be now.

8 Adopt a needy child from an Angel tree; maybe the same age as your child would be now. It may help you to browse the toy or clothes department and purchase a gift for that age.

9 Bake a batch of holiday cookies and share them with a friend or neighbour in need. Save some for the 16th.

10 Consider traditions – Are there some you want to keep? Some you feel you can’t handle? Do something different this year. It’s okay to make some changes.

11 Think of ways you want the family to remember your child during the holidays. Try to mentally prepare yourself for the many confusing emotions this season brings.

12 Plan to decorate your child’s grave site. A decorated tree or wreath, small toys, snow blanket, flowers, angels, gold or silver garlands work well.

13 Keep a written journal of your day-to-day feelings. Add to it every year. Be aware of how you change and grow as you learn what you need during the holidays.

14 Share your holiday plans with the extended family. Will traditions be changed? Let them know what you need from them. It’s okay to take care of YOU.

15 Hang a stocking for your child. Ask family to share written thoughts to or about your child. You and your spouse may want to exchange special gifts in this way.

16 You may wish to invite family and friends to bring an ornament in memory of your child to help decorate a Christmas tree. Serve spiced tea and cookies.

17 Try to let this be your day, before the real hustle and bustle begins. Take time to sit and read a few pages in a really good book. Drink a glass of tea from a beautiful glass and remember the way things were before you became a bereaved parent.

18 Reach out to another hurting or lonely person today. Visit a senior citizens home, volunteer with the needy, reach out to another bereaved parent that is suffering this year… etc. Realize you are not alone.

19 If it hurts too much to use a particular decoration, pack it safely away for another year. In time, your heart will be ready to celebrate.

20 Plan to decorate the altar of your church with a poinsettia or other flower in memory of your child on Christmas Eve.

21 Expect tears in the days ahead. Be gentle with yourself; allow them to come. If there is a moment of peace, open your heart to welcome it.

22 Decorate the mantle around a picture of your child or a special keepsake/symbol if you don’t have photos. Use greenery, twinkling lights, toys, angels, etc. Light a candle and keep it lit during the days ahead.

23 Display a photo album or scrapbook of your child on the coffee table. Let your family know it’s okay to talk all about him or her. It’s okay to share your tears, too.

24 Record the family story of your child: “Remember when . . .?” Recall when you learned you were pregnant, special memories of the pregnancy, etc.

25 Do something special in memory of your child: light a candle; say their name out loud; hang an ornament; create a table centrepiece; give a gift; share your love.

26 You may continue to burn your child’s special candle if you wish. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and listen to soothing music.

27 After the holiday rush, you may feel either a great sense of relief or letdown. Admit those feelings and share them freely.

28 Write a poem or story about your Christmas experience. You may wish to save it to share in a newsletter next year in memory of your precious child.

29 Spend a quiet moment with a picture or special keepsake/memento of your child. Feel his or her presence with you. Reflect on what you might want to do differently next year.

30 Write this year’s date on those ornaments bought or received in memory of your child, then lovingly wrap them in velvet or tissue paper.

31 You may wish to spend New Year’s Eve alone, with your spouse or in a group of people. Resolve to reach for “hope” this New Year.

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