Sunday, December 21, 2008

Facing Holidays And Anniversaries

What suggestions do you have for facing holidays and anniversaries?

18 comments:

  1. Holidays: My son's room is done in a Snoopy theme, my husband and I have a Snoopy for every holiday. Santa Snoopy, Easter Snoopy, Witch and Skeleton Snoopy and many more. That is our way of always having our son with us to share the holidays.

    Birthdays: We have gone as a group, (Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends) to sing Happy Birthday. We bring gifts, cards and flowers. Some say we have not yet let go, but for me it will always be one of the happiest days of my life. He was our first child and we will never forget that day or think of it as a bad memory. We celebrate as if he was here with us even three years later. There are tears shed, I believe they are healthy tears, we wish he was here to blow out his candles.

    Anniversaries: We have had three so far. I have noticed that we begin to be affected by this day about a week before and it lasts for about a week after. Both my husband and I have a shorter tolerance level for just about everything. We also know we still need to be understanding of each others feelings through that period. I guess you would say even though we become angry faster I know I could not have made it this far without him. I believe he feels the same way. My advise is to find strength in each other as well as individually. Try not to get lost in your own feelings, be there for each other, you both need someone to listen. Why not the one whose feelings are so close to your own. (Nov. 4, 1997)

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  2. My suggestion for the holidays and anniversary days is to do whatever you feel you need to do, regardless of what is expected of you or where you're supposed to be. People will understand if you tell them why, and if they don't then you shouldn't be around them anyway! (11/14/97)

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  3. My response, "The Holidays and Anniversaries are the hardest times of the year. Take it easy. Don't push yourself in anything that you don't want to do. If you need to be alone, do it. I tend to shy away from crowds and do thing(s) that make me feel better. I may take the day or two off work (visit Quinnzelle's gravesite) or/and go away ("disappear") for a little while." (11/17/97)

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  4. When my daughter first died, I heard so much about parents who celebrated their dead child's birthdays, anniversaries, etc, by doing very special things (holding memorials, releasing balloons, planting flowers..). I felt that if I did not participate in such elaborate rituals, then I was somehow less of a good parent than they were. I have come to realize that we must each do what we can, and that there is no right or wrong way to remember our children. We all loved, and continue to love our children very, very much. What is most important is what is in our hearts. If public displays and rituals work for us, then that is what we should participate in. If quiet time is what we need, then we should remember our children in silence.

    I found the first birthday and anniversary to be especially difficult for my family. Each of us (me, my husband, and my five year old daughter) had a different way of wanting to honor my deceased daughter's memory. Conflict arose, because at that time we did not understand that individuals grieve very differently. Please keep that in mind, and try not to have unrealistic expectations of those you love. (1/7/98)

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  5. I myself go to the cemetery each anniversary of my daughter's death during the approximate hours of her death and remain there during those hours. It helps me to cope with it and it is like saying baby I'm here as I was then, and as I always will be. Something called SIDS happened during those hours, no reason, no rhyme, no good bye. In those hours for reason unknown the end and beginning unfolded. I have done a celebrity auction ''in memory of kaitlyn'' and a considerable amount of other things, to help me and to remember that her existence although short will remain forever. (1/25/98)

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  6. Our son died the Dec 11, so we had to go through Christmas without him. It was very hard because our lil man was 16 months and was so excited when we got and put up our Christmas tree. We were both looking forward to bringing him downstairs to see what Santa had brung. We ended up surrounding ourselves with family this helped somewhat, plus we talked and thought about him all day:) (1/8/98)

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  7. We have a special case because our son was a twin baby. We were left with one that went through a difficult medical year but is now a healthy and active 3-year-old. For the twin's birthday, in the morning, before heading off to school or work, we do a simple candlelight prayer in front of Nicolas' picture. In the afternoon, we do a regular birthday party for Marco, the surviving twin. It is a very difficult day, because of the mixed feelings...in fact; I take it off work just to give myself time to deal with it. (3/6/98)

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  8. I don't let anybody tell me how I should handle these days. My family will sing happy birthday to my son, and we always get an angelfood cake. I used to go to the cemetery on anniversary, but I now live out of state, so we go out to dinner as a family, and talk about the things we remember about my son. I always treat myself this day. I look back at my grief journey, and am proud at how strong I have been. If asked how I would handle such a situation years ago, I would have answered that I would not have handled it at all. I can now see some positive things that have resulted from his death. I counsel others, and I feel my card project is important, and will be a great thing one day. (2/4/98)

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  9. I like to remember my nephew on the anniversary of his death by pulling out all my photographs of him, lighting candles and flipping through the pictures. I try to tell people stories about him during the day, and then I take some private moments at the end of it, where I just dwell in his memories and remember the imprint he left on my arms the last time I held him. I also send my sister white tulips, because he was so innocent.

    The family celebrates the anniversary of his birthday with a cake, and we spend time where his ashes are buried. We pull out the photo album and talk about him, especially with his younger sister. We don't ever want to stop referring to him just because he's not here.

    I also make a point of mentioning him every time someone asks how many children my sister has, or how many nieces and nephews I have. It leads to some awkward moments, but I want to assert his brief presence on earth, even when it's not an anniversary. (6/10/98)

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  10. Tommy was our first child and that first Christmas was very difficult for us because it had only been one month since his death and we didn't have any other children to focus our attention on. The following Christmas however, we did have another child and even though it has been 7 years since Tommy's death, we still have traditions that we do at Christmas in particular that help us through. The day we get our Christmas tree we all gather around it and place a little ornament we have with Tommy's name on it, this is always the very first to go on the center of the tree, then we begin to decorate and have fun recalling old memories of ornaments from years past and memories. On Tommy's birthday, I bring a store bought cake to the local hospital and donate it to the pediatric wing. I have Happy Birthday written on it and let the children enjoy it. On Easter, when the children hunt eggs, there is always a special egg with Tommy's name on it, who ever finds it will have the special gift of our little angel watching over them for the year. Of course we always visit the cemetery on holidays and put out little treasures and flowers, I understand for some people that is very difficult, but for me after Tommy died, going to the cemetery was very healing. Living in a large city there aren't too many quiet places to go to and sit quietly among the hustle and bustle...at the cemetery it was so quiet and peaceful and serene, I am always able to reflect and be quiet there. These are just a few things that my family and I do to help us through the holidays. I pray for all those who feel my sadness, but I am very thankful for the peace I have and hope that all will be able to share in that one day. (7/9/98)

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  11. My daughter was 7 weeks old when she died in 1994. She died in December so the Christmas holiday is very hard on all of us. That first year a very special friend of mine gave me a very special Angel. It was a SIDS angel that she made to sell and all proceeds go to the SIDS foundation. The next year I wanted to find another angel to watch over our Christmas season and allow all of us to enjoy the season. My special project every year now is to find the angel that would represent my baby in the best way for the age she would have been. I truly believe that she guides me through these choices every year. Needless to say I have found some beautiful angels. In the spring every year we plant Alyssum in our garden in her name . It makes me feel very warm to see those delicate little flowers and know they are for her. she was a very tiny 5lb preemie and those sweet flowers fit her memory perfectly. When I gave birth to her I suffered some major complications and can no longer have anymore babies. I feel that it is very important to all of the family members that her spirit is kept alive she will always be a part of me. As if she is riding on my shoulder every minute of everyday. I have a beautiful plant in the living room that I received in the hospital. I will baby it and care for it as long as I can. But mostly I recommend that what ever you chose to do to survive the holidays make sure that it makes you smile . Your child would have made you smile on that day and you owe yourself and them that much. Our hearts is all we have left to give them. (7/20/98)

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  12. Take time for yourself to just be quiet, and remember, and warm your heart. (7/21/98)

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  13. Hello all. Well, we have been busy bidding in the auction. I just wanted to tell you all my rationale for bidding on all the items we have bid on. We are currently up to over $100 in bids. But, I will never again buy a birthday present or a Christmas present for my sweet Joey. He is gone. I look at this as my way of still "spoiling" him. I am able to buy gifts and small trinkets for my surviving children and since Joey is still very much a part of our lives this is how I am choosing to be able to spend some money on him. I hope others of you will think of this for your own children. It is a good cause and a way to "spoil" our little angels. I miss him so much and none of these 'things' will change that but it is nice to think of buying these things for my baby. (9/16/98)

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  14. Every year on Xmas eve our family attends church and my children stand at the back of the church after service and hand out little gifts to the kids.

    All wrapped and the tags are marked ''From Angel Kaitlyn''. I picked the church that did little Katie's memorial service. I also visit the Children's Hospital in our area the afternoon of the 24th Dec. and take a special gift to all the children marked the same way. Each year I have always asked at the nurse's station if there were any 21-month-old babies in the hospital for Xmas and there ALWAYS seems to be one. I send a special gift to that child. All marked from Kaitlyn.

    I love it; it is a wonderful feeling inside. Last year an article appeared in the local newspaper about it and commended the generous gifts, everybody wondered who this Kaitlyn was. I never replied, she is an angel delivering gifts at Xmas. (9/16/98)

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  15. No one in my family ever does or says anything on my son's birthday. I have only made it through his 2nd in April. His first birthday, we got a couple thinking of you cards from a few people, and we had a little b-day party with our parents. His 2nd we did basically the same thing, but no one sent cards. My mom does buy him a birthday card and signs it every year for his baby book, but that's it. (8/6/99)

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  16. My mother and mother in-law both do things to remember my son on all holidays including his birthday. My mother in-law gives money to her church in his memory and my mom gives money to me to send to whatever charity I see fit. I usually try to send it to a charity that helps children or babies it seems fitting.

    I have a very big family and they are the only ones who do this. The rest of the family will speak of him, but only if I bring it up. Its very upsetting sometimes the pity they get on their faces when I try to talk about my son. Sometimes I like to remember the good times too! (8/6/99)

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  17. We always have a plan for the Holidays and our daughter's birthday. We usually have a small family party which consists of making cupcakes with my three children. We take 1 cupcake to the cemetery and lay it on her plaque with balloons marking how old she would be and then each of my children send off a balloon and say that it is going to Heaven for Alexandra to play with. On the holidays we started some new traditions that we did not have in place before Alexandra died. Now, the holidays are a little easier because these new traditions incorporate Alexandra into our holidays even more. I am still at a loss about what to do on the anniversary of her death so this year will be the 4th anniversary so we decided to do something fun that would make the day a happier day and whatever we do we will do it in Alexandra's memory. (Alexandra Nicole -1/12/99-1/22/99) (12/2/02)

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  18. Michelle SifuentesDecember 21, 2008

    Our Jillian is the fourth of five children and we celebrate her birthday the same as we would anyone's birthday in our family. I have always asked each child what they wanted Mom to make for dinner on their special day. Our Jillian has been gone now for 17 years, this year our family is celebrating many milestones; one of our sons is turning 25 another 21.

    The point of this is that the oldest decided that he would now decide for his sister what meal Mom would make for her special day and his reason why he should do this is because he is now 25 and some how this is a big deal that grants him all sorts of new privileges. As you can imagine the other three children did not take that lightly. Each proceeded to explain why this privilege should be theirs and then from the next room we hear a little voice exclaim I get to pick because I'm Shawnmahair's (grandmother in Gaelic) favorite.

    The moral of this story is that by remembering our loved ones we keep them alive forever because their life is passed on to the next generation that never knew them in person. I don't think it is important how you remember them as much as it is that they are remembered.

    Jillian lives in our hearts and our home we keep the only picture we have of her out for all to see and our children (who are now all young adults) are always happy to point out who the baby is. I think it is important not to worry about what others might think, but to think more of what helps you to survive. The loss of a child is and always will be the most trying of experiences for a parent to endure. One will learn to live again. Your life will forever be changed and your heart will never forget.

    Jillian Deborah Lenora Sifuentes (January 31, 1989 - March 5, 1989)

    (2/14/06)

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