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Grief During the Holidays: Hope, Joy, and Remembrance

By Sari S.

This is not going to be my first holiday season without my twin boys, Carter and Easton, however it is going to be a first for many things. Some things will stay the same and some I plan on changing. Carter and Easton were born at 23 weeks and 6 days due to premature labor on July 24, 2013. Carter was stillborn and Easton lived for an hour and a half.

Last year, I was still numb and going thru the motions when it came to the holiday season.

My family and friends were amazingly supportive and that helped tremendously, but this year I am worried the support won’t be the same. This year comes with so many new emotions, as I am due with Carter and Easton’s baby sister, Alexis Dec. 24. I feel with the excitement of Alexis being born people are going to forget that I am also a grieving mother, who’s missing two very large parts of her heart.

So this year I plan to add a few more traditions to those I started last year.

Last year, I made it a point to decorate the boys’ headstone for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. It gave me something to look forward to and got me thru Thanksgiving Day. Instead of joining in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, I was able to spend quiet time reflecting on what life could have been and what my new life was going to be like. The next day I decorated our home for Christmas with two new stockings for Carter and Easton and a Christmas tree ornament that was placed front and center on the tree. I also had Christmas Day mass said in memory of Carter and Easton.

This year, I expect will be much different, less quiet time I imagine.

Alexis is going to be born via C-section December 8th as a precautionary measure. I still plan on decorating the boy’s headstone the day after Thanksgiving, buying an ornament to be placed on the tree and Christmas mass is still going to be said for them. However, I plan on also choosing two items off the giving tree at church to buy for a family in need, in memory of my boys (I imagine that when Alexis is old enough she will be the one choosing the items and helping me purchase them.)

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This year I plan on giving everyone in my family a Christmas ornament from Carter and Easton, as I want them remembered still, even though I will have a living child now too.

Finally, I plan on setting aside quiet time for me to reflect on my boys and give them my full attention.

During this time I plan on writing them each a letter to be placed in their stocking, where it will stay and with every passing year I’ll add another one and Alexis and my husband can add their own too, so when I do have times of sorrow in the coming holiday seasons, I can pull out the letters and read them to see how far we have come.

With all I have planned in memory of Carter and Easton, I look forward to this holiday season with hope, joy, and remembrance of the few precious moments I had on Earth with my boys and all the memories we’ll make as a family of 5, not 3, this year and every other passing year.

 

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