|Coping With Holidays and Celebrations|
By Sherokee Ilse
|Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years - celebrations that bring families together. A time to appreciate friends, God, family and the gifts of life. They also serve as reminders of who will not be with us when our family comes together.Holiday times can be bittersweet for families who have had a loved one die, particularly a child. There are ways for you to gain some control and minimize the difficulty of the often tense, yet special time. Long before the day, make plans, speak up about your needs and desires and follow your heart. In your decision-making process do take into account the rest of your family, but remember it's okay to put your needs at or near the top of the list.|
If you decide you want to do things differently this year, let your family know your desires (either personally or through a note). Be tactful and use "I" and "we" statements. For instance, "We are feeling the need to do things differently this year. We miss our baby so much that we can't imagine sitting around a dinner table without her. Please understand that we do not want to hurt anyone's feelings. We ask for your support during this difficult time and request that you not challenge our decision."
As you attempt to discover what seems right for you during the upcoming holiday(s) ask yourselves, "What usually happens in our family to celebrate this holiday or family event? If there were a few minor changes could we handle it better? What do we want to do differently?" If you come to the conclusion that you want to make changes, maybe you will find some of these suggestions helpful:
Sherokee Ilse has suffered the loss of three babies and is an internationally known consultant, author and trainer on the subject of infant loss and bereavement. She has authored many books and booklets including her ever-popular Empty Arms: Coping With Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death. Sherokee is also the coordinator for the National Coalition for Positive Outcomes in Pregnancy.