When my daughter, Hannah Grace, passed away it was four days after Thanksgiving and less than a month before Christmas. I had already purchased some Christmas gifts for her and was trying to figure out what to do with what I purchased. I did not feel I could keep them, yet I knew I could not give them away. Gift giving was definitely a touchy subject for my friends and family and I knew they had questions but did not know how to approach me.
I took the lead and asked my mom and one of my sisters to please take Hannah’s gifts and donate them because someone in our community would be able to use them as Christmas gifts. Saying all of that, I remember an outpouring of people in my community bringing gifts for my other four children through the weeks between Hannah’s burial and Christmas Eve.
Here are some tips that helped my family during our time of bereavement:
- Talk about the deceased person – I had to talk about Hannah. Yes, I cried but it was so important for me to talk about her and include her in the festivities. My friends and family allowed me to bring her name up, and this was the best choice of action.
- Include the deceased person – I received a few gifts that were personalized with Hannah’s name and those were so meaningful to me! It made me realize that Hannah meant as much to them as she did to me.
- Start a tradition – I wanted my other daughters to remember their sister so I made it my personal mission to come up with a tradition that we could implement for major holidays. At Christmas, I still hang a stocking for Hannah but place gifts for each of my daughters into her stocking such as a locket or some type of trinket.
- Be at Peace – You have to decide if you are going to come to terms with your loss. Once you are able to deal in a healthy manner with the loss of your loved one, those around will feel that and begin to heal. If you are dealing with emotional depression, please seek out the proper medical help.
- Be Patient – It was so difficult for me to put on a brave face for my children, husband and family members but I had to so they could see that it was okay for them to enjoy the holiday. I was able to cry in front of them, and that was good for all of us. We all recognized the emptiness that Hannah’s death left in our family and we were there for one another. This is how our healing began and continues to this day.
My advice comes from a personal point of view and is not medical advice. I am a mom who has lost two children: one due to a miscarriage at 9 weeks gestation and another child at the age of 14-months due to a virus.
Stephanie Grams, owner of “My Sewing Needle” and “The Memory Bear Coach”, married and mother to many. Contact me for interviews, business coaching, memorial sewing services, or media!