I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next 24 hours – Christmas Day. I already feel the emotions bubbling inside me. A lump has formed in my throat and I know my eyes gleam from unshed tears. So far I have managed to stop them streaming down my face. I find myself talking to Barry – asking if he likes the tree we put up this year and telling him that I wish, with all my heart, that he was here with us. For the last hour, I’ve been playing his music because I want to be close to him. I know the tears will flow when I got to bed tonight. I won’t be able to stop them any longer and will need the release of pressure.

The following words just arrived in my email inbox from my online support group and they seem to be written especially for me, although they are written for all bereaved parents. This is what I’ll have to do in the next 24 hours, if I want to make it:

Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours and not expect to get over my child’s death, but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.

Just for today I will remember my child’s life, not just her death, and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days and moments we shared.

Just for today I will forgive all the family and friends who didn’t help or comfort me the way I needed them to. They truly did not know how.

Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside, for maybe if I smile a little, my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.

Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child, for they are hurting too, and perhaps we can help each other.

Just for today I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt, for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world I could of done to save my child from death, I would have done it.

Just for today I will honor my child’s memory by doing something with another child because I know that would make my own child proud.

Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship to another bereaved parent for I do know how they feel.

Just for today when my heart feels like breaking, I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving and the only reason I hurt is because I had the privilege of loving so much.

Just for today I will not compare myself with others. I am fortunate to be who I am and have had my child for as long as I did.

Just for toady I will allow myself to be happy, for I know that I am not deserting her by living on.

Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did, my life did go on, and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.

~ written by Vicki Tushingham ~