Handling the Holidays While Grieving

December 12, 2012

Written by:  Martie Spurgeon

At Christmas time our thoughts turn to family.  The festivities and the nostalgia of Christmas causes us to remember memories of the past.  If your family life has been affected by SIDS, undoubtedly some of your memories this Christmas will be sad; and you may find this holiday season incredibly hard.Handling the holidays while grieving can be a challenge especially if your baby has died within the past three years.  So, how does a grieving parent cope with the added stress of the holidays while they are still grieving the loss of their baby?  Here are a few tips that may help you during this time of year.

  • Allow yourself to grieve.  While this may sound like a given, it sometimes feels wrong to be sad when the whole world is 'supposed' to be joyful and festive.  You do not have to be festive every day in December!  It is OK to cry and to miss your baby - even during the holidays!
  • Find a way to include the memory of your baby in your holiday celebrations.  Perhaps purchasing an ornament in memory of your baby, or having a memory book that you have made of your baby's pictures on the coffee table for holiday guests to look at and remember your baby with you.  Finding some way to have your baby's memory present with you during the holidays will help you handle the holidays while still grieving.
  • Opt out of holiday busyness.  It is OK to choose not to attend every holiday celebration to which you receive an invitation.  Also, there may be holiday traditions that you and your family always do during the holidays.  This may be the year to give yourself permission to take a year off of normal.
  • Look for ways to be a blessing to someone else during the holidays.  One of the best grief aids is choosing to find someone else who has a need and doing your best to meet that need.  It does not have to be big; but finding and meeting the needs of someone else will help to bring meaning to the holidays even if your heart is still aching the loss of your child.

These are just a few tips that may help you.  The holidays are difficult.  You may find that you just need someone to talk with.  We have taken special effort this year to have staff available for you if you need someone to visit with.  Please do not hesitate to call SIDS America if you need a listening ear.  You can reach us at:  (920) 212-0798.

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