home of loving support for bereaved parents

December 2014
A Calendar to Help Ease the Bereaved Parent
Through the Holidays


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


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


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


Write a love letter to your baby. 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.


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


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.


Tie ribbons on a tree in memory of your baby. Blue for a son; pink for a daughter; white for a baby whose gender is unknown. Tie ribbons to denote how old your child would be now.


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


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


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.


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


Plan to decorate your baby's gravesite. A decorated tree or wreath, small toys, snow blanket, flowers, angels, gold or silver garlands work well.


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.


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.


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


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


Decorate your baby's grave - either alone, with a caring family member or a compassionate friend. Take your time and do it in your own way.


Reach out to another hurting or lonely person today. Visit a senior citizens home, volunteer with the needy, etc. Realize you are not alone.


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


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


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.


Decorate the mantle around a picture of your baby 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.


Display a photo album or scrapbook of your baby 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.


Record the family story of your baby: "Remember when . . .?" Recall when you learned you were pregnant, special memories of the pregnancy, etc.


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


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


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


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 baby.


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


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


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.

A quiet moment for lighting a candle in memory of your baby . . . "Dear baby of mine, please see this light as a symbol of our never-ending love for you. Please understand that this love knows no limits or bounds; it conquers even the hold of death. Let this light shine in memory of our love for you, in celebration of the life we shared together, however brief, and in the hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day. We feel your spirit with us even now, gently guiding and strengthening us. With this light we will remember the true gifts of the season: memories of joys past, hope for present peace and love to last a lifetime. We will forever feel your presence and love you always."

Created by Dana Leigh Gensler and Maribeth Wilder Doerr in memory of their precious babies . . . 

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