Honoring Our Babies~A Holiday Tribute to our Angels
by Katie Smith

The holidays can often be cold as winter to the spirits of bereaved families. We miss our children dearly. Most of us would rather skip the hustle and bustle of this season by hibernating in our beds dreaming of the life that would have been if only our children lived.

During this season, take care of you by being kind to yourself. Don't push yourself to go holiday shopping or participate in family gatherings that you aren't feeling up to attending. It's okay to say, "NO!" Do what makes you feel comfortable. Keep a journal to express your frustrations. Confide in close family and friends that understand your heartache.

Curl up on the couch with a blanket, sip some hot cocoa, and watch a good old fashioned movie to chuckle over like, "Some Like it Hot," with Marilyn Monroe.

Allow yourself to enjoy the little things in life like the beauty of the snow falling and hearing the birds chirp a little tune.

There are ways to comfort our souls during these cold days!
By remembering and honoring our children, we can make these holidays more enjoyable.

It's important to talk about your baby to your loved ones. Let them know that you want to share your holiday memories with your angel. Invite your family and friends to participate in this ritual by writing love notes to your angel that can be placed in a special stocking for your baby. You may also want to have your family read aloud their letter to your baby at a special family dinner. After the holidays, you may want to place those letters and cards in your baby's memory album.

Another way to include your precious angel(s) in your holidays is by purchasing an ornament that has some significance that memorializes your child or children. You may choose to have the ornament engraved with your child's name and birth/death dates on it.

Decorate your baby's graveside with a small potted Christmas tree or poinsettia. Have your family place greeting cards for your child around that tree along with a gift such as a little teddy bear. If your child's ashes rest at your home, you can do the same thing there.

Sometimes churches invite families to decorate the altar during the holiday season by donating poinsettias in memory of loved ones. I did this at my own church. After the Christmas Eve candle light service, I was able to take Charles' poinsettia home to rest beside his urn. Check with your local church for similar memorial events.

Several hospitals hold special holiday memorial services throughout December specifically for families that have lost a baby. The services are often held in the hospital's chapel. Sometimes a support group/sharing meeting follows after the service. Check with your local hospital's bereavement coordinator for more details on such programs.

Many malls and merchants participate in a giving tree program every year for the holidays to help children that are less fortunate. You may want to choose a child's name from one of these trees that matches the age of what your child would have been this year. You can purchase gifts in memory of your beloved baby for that child who may not otherwise have a pleasant holiday. Place a smile and some joy in the heart of another child. It's amazing the difference you will make in the lives of others by doing such a selfless act of kindness and love.

If you don't feel like being surrounded by family and friends at special gatherings, donate your time to helping out at a soup kitchen for the homeless. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to help others!

If there's a local Build a Bear Workshop in your area, you may want to take some time to create a furry friend in your baby's memory and honor. You can even create a birth certificate for your bear with your child's name and date of birth on it. When you're feeling sad and alone, you can hug your special bear for comfort knowing that you made this bear for your baby with love.

December 8, 2002 is World-Wide Children's Memorial Day. Light a candle at 7:00 P.M. in your time zone to honor your baby. Check with your local newspaper or support organizations for details on locations for candle lighting gatherings that may be held on Children's Memorial Day in your area.

Always know that your precious baby is with you always in heart and soul. We are all parents no matter where our children are today. And we always will be parents to our angels!

About the Author
Katie is a Neo Fight Listener and a MISS Facilitator in the mid-west. All of her work is offered in honor of her son Charles Christopher who was born still on 11/6/99.

[Editor's note: We here at KotaPress would like to thank Katie for co-editing the Loss Journal with Kara!! Her help is more valuable than gold!!]

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