Holiday Family Traditions

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My first grader came home with a project called “My Holiday Customs and Traditions.”  It included a list of questions to answer about how our family spends the holidays and a requirement to make a poster to accompany an in-class presentation.  The underlying theme is to celebrate differences in both the holidays celebrated and the traditions that the families have created for themselves. Continue reading

Navigating the Holidays

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The day before Thanksgiving, Ger made a comment to me that Thanksgiving was an “easy” holiday.  Unlike the anticipation of Christmas or the stigma of Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving was just a day to be grateful for what you have, in his mind.

I responded “But what about people who are hurting?”  I pointed out people that we know who are going through or newly divorced.  Families with tensions and forced interactions.  People spending a first holiday without a parent who passed away within the last year.  And of course, the countless families in our world who are spending the day missing a baby that died. Continue reading

Needing Distractions for the Day

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On this day in 2015, I was at O’Hare airport waiting for a flight to Kansas City.  The day had produced the first snow of the year, and not in a small amount.  It caused delay after delay, rescheduled flight, getting onto the plane and waiting for more than an hour on the tarmac, only to be told that the flight was cancelled and needing to de-plane.  I had been at the airport for about 15 hours at that point, only to go to baggage claim and discover that my suitcase had been lost. Continue reading

An Unease with Mother’s Day

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Motherhood is complicated.  Mother’s Day is complicated.  Other holidays have all kinds of triggers for those that are grieving.  Christmas can be a time of forced joy when all that’s felt is pain.  Thanksgiving centers around being thankful, when often sentiments are far from that place.  But no other holiday is as dedicated and blatant as Mother’s Day for a mother who has lost a child.  The day when her motherhood is put under the spotlight, with a crowd cheering “Be happy!  Be appreciated!  YOU ARE A MOM!” Continue reading

Light, Words, and Gathering

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The only event on my calendar yesterday was a Luminary ceremony hosted by the loss support group of which I am a member.  My nanny’s exclamation of “Cinco de Mayo!” and various photos I saw of the Kentucky Derby reminded me that many people had very different celebrations yesterday.  Whereas for my circle, we gathered to light up the Angel Garden at the hospital and say our babies’ names out loud, in recognition of International Bereaved Mother’s Day. Continue reading