By: Amy Lied
In preparation for this month’s article, I reread the one I had written last December. That article goes on to share the myriad of ways in which we include Asher in our already established holiday traditions, the things we do to include him as a very much loved and missed member of our family.
This year I want to talk about the new traditions we’ve established BECAUSE of Asher, the ones that force me to sit and devote time solely to him, which can be hard to do these days with twin 2 year old toddlers running around.
Over the last four years, we have received a myriad of ornaments to honor and remember our boy, so many that his ornaments kind of took over our family tree. Last year, we decided that our boy deserved a special tree of his own to hold all of his beautiful ornaments.
I wanted his tree to be different. I did not want a green tree. I wanted an angelic tree to honor our boy, so I went with a 6-foot white artificial tree. I purchased blue lights to wrap around it and blue glass ornaments to place on his tree, in addition to all the ornaments he already had.
Initially, I felt “mom-guilt” about the idea. I worried that giving him his own tree separated him from our family. I push so hard to make sure Asher is always included as a member of our family, yet here I am giving him his own tree with only his ornaments on it, separate from our “family” tree. I rectified this feeling but including a few of his ornaments on the “family” tree. I also noted to myself that the kid literally has enough ornaments to completely fill our family tree, so he needs his own tree for the overflow. Decorating his tree last year was one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.
I loved going through his ornaments, remembering who gifted them to him, sharing them with his little sisters, and focusing on him for an extended period of time. I will not lie and say that the tears didn’t flow, they always do, but it was a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season by remembering our son.
Another “Asher” tradition that we have started, after seeing other loss families do it, is asking others to send him Christmas cards to put in his stocking.
On Christmas day, when his little sisters are in bed for the night, my husband and I sit together and open each card to Asher. I am a person who loves getting regular old mail. As December progresses seeing the cards come in addressed to my son, as if he were physically here with us, makes my heart soar and a smile spread across my face. I love seeing his name written by others.
It seems like such a small gesture but ANY gesture that honors our child who is missing is priceless.
Asher doesn’t get presents in the traditional sense like his sisters do. He doesn’t get to be the center of attention as we watch him open up his presents.
Sitting with my husband on Christmas opening cards for our firstborn, by the light of our Christmas trees, is emotional but, oh so, wonderful. It means the absolute world to us to know that others took the time to remember our son, to write him a card in celebration of Christmas.
It is our way of sitting and watching our son open presents on Christmas. It is the best we can do given the circumstances and it has become one of my favorite parts of Christmas.
2020 has been a rough year, to say the least. We are entering a holiday season where we won’t be able to spend time with our friends and family, like in year’s past. The welcomed distraction from our grief, that is time with others, won’t be there.
I encourage you to lean into the grief this year, spend time focused on the missing piece of your heart, and create new traditions as a family that remember and honor your child.
Sending you wishes for a safe and peaceful holiday season.
About Amy Lied
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother. Her son, Asher, was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. After losing Asher and struggling to conceive again, she went back to treatment where she became pregnant with her twin daughters; Harper and Scarlett. She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project, an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. Sharing her journey has helped her cope and she hopes it also helps others who are walking on this road of life after loss.