Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Holiday Message

Editor's note: SIDS Foundation sent this beautiful note to eveyone this week at the start of the holiday season. I found its message to be simple but profound and so I wanted to share it with you as you think about your child and what this season may mean to you.

With Thanksgiving this week kicking-off of the holiday season, we thought we would take this opportunity to share a bit of information on handling the holidays.

First off, acknowledging and recognizing that that every holiday season will bring up different emotions and certainly, if this is your first following the loss of your child, your experience will be quite different than it had been in the past. Holidays, which had heralded joy and celebrations, may now be accompanied by feelings of loneliness, sadness, anger, and anxiety for many. Through the darkened days of this season, it is vital that families allow themselves to also see the light.

Light can be a symbol of life, hope, faith, as well as enjoyment. Christmas, Kwanzaa and Chanukah are all upcoming holidays that celebrate using light. As part of the “journey of healing”, try to use the light to help lead you through this most difficult season. Look again at your support systems- family, friends and faith and consider “rekindling” relationships that may have “burned low.” Share with family and friends what helps and what hurts. Utilize your support system to keep your light shining bright. You may want to pick and choose which events to attend. Acknowledge and accept the feelings you are having. Don’t let the expectations of others prevent you from meeting your own needs. Set some goals for yourself and plan ways to help you handle any potential uncomfortable situations.

Another very valuable part of the holiday season is the act of giving. To be able to reach out and help someone else in need can be a very rewarding, empowering, and inspiring experience. One of the most important people to give to is you. During this season, be sure to nurture yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. After a loss, many people neglect themselves and often feel guilty taking care of their needs. When done in memory of your child, the act of giving, including to yourself, can be an even more powerful experience than ever before.

May the bright memories of your child light your way through the holiday season. We wish you peace with your family and friends.

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