One of the things I started doing when my son left home for the Army was to buy the same gift that he would get every year and give it to a Toys for Tots type program. It seemed he got a new basketball each year, whether from me or from someone else. A new basketball fits boys of every age and so I continue to buy and give one each year. Now that I can face the stores again, I buy gifts for a lot of giving trees. I usually choose boys but sometimes buying a girl gift is fun too since I never got to do it much. Try giving a gift in your child's name and think of your child smiling down on you while at the same time you are bringing a smile to another child's face.
<---MARK AND WHENDY'S TREE
My idea, one which helped me tremendously from year one, was to scan the
pics of Mark through his life - resizing them as small pics. Some I placed on holiday backgrounds sort of like a mat, others I framed in small frames, all wired for hanging on the tree. Since, I've added pics
of Whendy, too. The tree at the ranch is adorned with their pics, some
framed, some laminated in shapes like ornaments...the ornaments on the
tree are their pics, with added bows and small crystal like angels. It
really makes a precious little tree and adds the presence of our loved ones
at Christmas gatherings. Sara
This will be the 1st time I will put up a tree since her accident. Last year we went on a cruise with the family to get away. I took some of Lana's ashes with me and the day of her accident, Jan. 1st, I sprinkled them from the boat. I'm sort of looking forward to seeing some of the decorations she made as a child, again. This year we are planning a New Years party and I will dedicate the fireworks display in honor of Lana. Brenda
A wreath is a traditional part of the holidays in most homes. For this ceremony, place five candles around a simple wreath. The wreath may be placed on any table or fireplace mantel. As you light each candle this
year, you may create a new ritual which will become a lasting tradition. We
hope this memorial will help you honor your loved one.
As we light these five candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, and one for our memories, one for our love,
and one for our hope. This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you. This candle represents our courage -- to confront our sorrow, to
comfort each other, and to change our lives. This candle is in your memory--the times we laughed, the times we
cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, and the caring and joy you gave us. This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season,
day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each
of us. And this candle is the light of hope. It reminds us of love and
memories of you that are ours forever. May the glow of the flame be our source of hopefulness now and forever.
This will be our first Christmas without my son, Marcos. He died last
February 7th, 1999. In some ways we are blessed (in many ways actually) that
Marcos died after Christmas-- we had much of a year to think about and prepare
for Christmas. My daughter, Adrianna is 17 and will be leaving for college
next year, so I know that Christmas will be forever changed in many ways. I
will be decorating this year, although not the same way and I am terrified of
my son's stocking and the tree skirt which bears his name, however, I will
still be using them--not as if he is still here, but because he was.
Sometimes other people tend to forget that or not deal with it. In our house,
the tradition has always been to have a Christmas Eve open house for
everyone-- especially those who don't have a place to go. It's very informal
and then we go to mass. I will do this especially this year.
There are two things that I will specifically do, however, in memory of
Marcos. I have decided to leave the door open all night-- so that
symbolically and really all are welcome-- but especially for Marcos's spirit,
which was so holy and spiritual. Also, friends had been kind enough to ask,
especially the neighbors, if I would like them not to display lights on their
houses in memory of Marcos. I said no but was heartened by their comforting
gesture. I have asked, instead, if they would perhaps turn off all lights but
one for an hour at midnight on Christmas Eve so that he can be remembered in a
special way. Marcos would have loved the lights in general, and it would be
nice to have them up otherwise. I may continue this tradition for many years
to come in my own house.
Finally, I don't know how comforting these things will be, I imagine this
first Chrismas without my son will be devastating. I am already flustered and
confused, but knowing that my friends have thought about us and that my door
is still open may help get me through. Thanks for listening. Daria McCloskey.
Two days before Christmas, I became
impulsive and decided to do it. I did everything like we used to
frosted them alone. It was like a memorial to her..
I felt her all around me. Her dog kept barking and going to the
would go and look out the window, there was no one there.
Finally, I opened
the door, I had to open the door, and told her to come in. The
right in the kitchen ahead of me wagging her tail and still
unbelievable, but true.
I have been baking Christmas cookies for years. We tasted them
later, and my
husband and I agreed, something was missing from my famous sugar
I laughed, how I could feel her laughing, when I realized I did
not put sugar
in the dough. The unopened bag was still sitting in the
cupboard.. I can't
wait to bake with her next year..Tahnee Sue Eldridge May 2, 1978 * June 2, 1999
I gave my son Bram a small prefabricated tree complete with lights and
decorations for his first apt when he moved from home which he used until he
could afford his own. Unfortunately Bram was killed the day after he had
bought and decorated his first real tree. The first year I put his
prefabricated tree on his grave site. Now this year I used it as a prop to
take photos of his daughter Julianna (who was born a month after he was
killed). We will use this photo for our cards this year. And we have decided
to put this tree up in addition to our real tree every year (somehow it will
be in the Christmas cards too). This tree has come to mean so much about
Bram to us. Thanks, Sheralee
I don't know if this counts as an idea but I started a group called For The
Love Of Our Children in memory of my son Joe who died 5 years ago. It is a
group of bereaved mothers who do charitable work for abused and abandoned
children. We do a summer picnic and we do a Christmas Outreach wherein we
sponsor an abused and/or abandoned child from a state facility and give them
a gift in memory of our child. I don't know if any of your people would be
interested but you can let me know. Sincerely,
Last year was our first Christmas without our son Joe. We lost him in 48
hours on May 20, 1999, to menningicoccal septicemia. He was just 15 years
old. We had no desire at all to celebrate Christmas. It was especially hard
since Joe was the biggest Christmas person in our family. He was the first to
want to put up the tree and all the decorations. He Loved having family
around and spending time with cousins and relatives we never seemed to get to
spend enough time visiting. He also had many friends that missed him as much
as we do. In order to help us survive our first holiday without him, we
started what we hope will be a long tradition. We put up a small tree that we
always put in our front window, but this time we invited his friends to come
and help us decorate the tree. This would be "Joe's tree." We asked each of
them to bring an ornament, either store bought or hand made, in honor of Joe.
It was so touching to see what they brought that reminded them of him, and it
was amazing how much comfort it was to us to have them around. We talked and
laughed and played cards and shared stories of Joe. The kids asked us if we
could do this every year, and we gladly agreed. This year the holiday seems
even more unbearable to us than last, but I know that these wonderful young
people will once again bring us comfort and love, and hope that we can
survive this tragedy.
My son died on 1/17/97. We had at the time 3 surivivng children. We have a
new child since the accident that is learnig to love and know his brother
through our rituals. Every Christmas, we hang a stockimg for Nathaniel and
write our own personal thoughts of how we missed him in the past year. We
roll the pretty christmas stationary into a scroll, tie it with ribbon and
put it nto the stocking. I, as the mommy take the scrolls in the night and
tell the children that Santa and Jesus delivered the thoughts/letters to
their brother. We also put Nathaniels picture in the middle of the tree and
light a big, white candle for him next to his picture on Christmas day. We
love him so much. There will never be a holiday that our boy misses just
because he died.
After reading your ideas on your page I thought I would share mine with
you. My son was killed in Aug of 96 and Christmas came very fast. I didn't know
what to do about it. We always had a real tree but i know that I couldn't that
year(I didn't want anything to do with Christmas) but I have other children
and a granddaughter. So we all went out and bought a fake one for that year. I
didn't put out all me things only a few. My daughter and I went out and bought
two small real trees and decorated them. One we brought to Justin's grave and
one for his bedroom. In his room I put my Christmas village with white lights
all over his room. I put up all the kids' stockings, including Justin's. And on
Christmas Eve, after everyone is asleep, I sit in the living room with only the
tree lights on and write Justin a letter. After I am done writing him I put it
in his stocking. This has become our time together. This year there will 5
letters in his stocking. Maybe, in years to come on that Christmas Eve night, I
will open them and Justin and I could share them all. But for now I am still
writing. I hope some of my ideas can help someone get through the Holidays with
a little less pain.
Last year was our first Christmas without Cory, and we were all still in such a state of shock that I don't remember much about last Christmas, short of the agony of not having him with us. As you know, Cory's little boy was born,.a little over two months after Cory's passing, and because of him, and in memory of my Cory, I started a couple traditions that I would like to share. I have always decorated theme trees, and Cory used to get such a kick out of seeing what new tree I would do for the year, that I did one for just him this year, as several I read have. Just always being on the look out for that one particular ornament, that belongs totally to him, helps to keep him close at Christmas. Another thing that I will do this year, is I will go to the cemetery, and light his eternal
candle, and with that I will leave him a gift. In the package will be a letter, telling of the wonderful things that Santa brought his child this year, and of precious moments the family had in remembrance of him. Then I will remove the gift after Christmas, and save the letters for his son to have one day. Not only do I get to share Christmas with Cory, but his little boy will have a wonderful book of letters, that will be a memorial to his father, and a way to give him memories of Christmas's past.
Cory was my only child, and he is what Christmas has been about for 27 years, and to not have him with us, is like having no Christmas at all. So each year, I will try to find new and different things to do, to keep his memory alive, for us, and his baby boy, who now will know all the traditions of his father, at Christmas time.
This Christmas I was having a hard time being without my 11 yr old son
Ricky who was killed in a car accident. So I thought what could I do to
make this feeling go away this holiday season. And I had decided to go
to my local church and ask if they had a name of a boy that was 11 or so
that needed some extra help this year for x-mas. Well they did and I
adopted him for x-mas and took him shopping for a whole day - movies and
all. He got some really nice gifts and we had dinner. It truly was a
bittersweet day but it made me feel so much better about the whole
This Christmas in Johnny's honor I helped gather donations for a very
poor, deserving family of 7 who live in a one-room shack in our town. One of
the female troopers came back to the post and told me about them and what a
deplorable situation. So she and I put a notice in the paper and we received
many generous donations. The outpouring of love and generosity was simply
amazing. It made us feel so good. So that was my Christmas this year. I know
Johnny would like that as he was such a kind, compassionate person.
I have Chad's last paycheck so I took some of his money and bought his sister,
Jennifer, a charm that said #1 sister. She was so touched. She knew exactly
where it came from. She also has had a rough time without him. There is only 3 years difference in their ages.
from Lori Newstrom
Our angel name is Megan Leigh who was 12 when she passed away after a year
battle w/Non-Hodgkins and a bone-marrow transplant. This will be our second
Christmas w/out her. Last year we took a ski trip. But put a special tree at
her graveside and had lights that working w/a battery. I had anyone who
wanted to put a special ornament on the tree for her. It turned out to be
the prettiest tree at the cementary.
I plan on doing it again. But I like
the idea of buying an ornament and having her name engraved and the year I think I'll do that this year.
Last year, christmas 2000, was my first Christmas without my 5 yr old little boy, Joshua. He died in May from cancer. In the tradition of grief, I would have been just as happy to let the holiday pass unnoticed. But my daughter Grace was 3 and there was no way I could avoid it. I do something similar to your ornament idea - but I have decided to do a "theme". One of the things Joshua loved the most was trains. Last year I bought him a little wooden one at a craft show and had his name written on it and the year. This year I got a hallmark one that says son, also with the year on it. I figure trains are a pretty popular symbol around a christmas tree so I should have no problem finding one every year. I know many people who buy a different angel for their tree every year.
It's just a little reminder that even though life goes on, sometimes our hearts don't!!
Julane, after losing my son Brandon at age 18, I knew I would never send Christmas cards again, because I could never sign 4 names on there instead of 5. The first Christmas after Brandon died, other friends who had lost a daughter sent us a lovely card and signed the names of all of their family members including their lovely Jessica--except that her name had a tiny cross over it. I thought this was a wonderful, comforting idea except that I print a tiny angel head with a halo over Brandon's name now. The card has to be perfect, usually a simple angel card with a message of peace. As I would only send cards to close friends and family, I believe they would understand this gesture and not think I'm deluding myself--but I cannot leave Brandon out just because he is not longer living here on earth--he is here in our hearts and always will be a necessary part of the family and continuing to write his name with the rest of ours brings me comfort.
OUR DAUGHTER MELISSA LOST HER BATTLE WITH CANCER JULY 08...THE THOUGHT OF SPENDING A CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY WITHOUT HER IS UNBEARABLE. WE DECIDED TO BUY A TALL 9 FOOT NEW TREE THIS YEAR AND WE CALL IT OUR MELISSA TREE. FAMILY THAT ARRIVED FOR THANKSGIVING BROUGHT THEIR SPECIAL ORNAMENT THAT REMINDED THEM OF HER. ALL THE ORNAMENTS SHE COLLECTED AND THAT WERE GIVEN TO HER SINCE DAY 1 WILL BE ON THE MELISSA TREE. I SENT OUT INVITATIONS TO ALL HER FRIENDS TO GATHER ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON TO DEDICATE THE MELISSA TREE, AND TO BRING AN ORNAMENT. HER STOCKING IS HUNG ALONG WITH THE OTHERS. FROM TIME TO TIME I DROP A NOTE IN THERE TO EXPRESS MY FEELINGS AND TO SAY LOVE YOU FOREVER. HER BABY BLANKET IS THE TREE SKIRT. THIS IS MY WAY OF INCLUDING HER WITH US IN SPIRIT. HER ASHES ARE ON THE MANTEL ABOVE HER STOCKING, SHE IS ALL AROUND ME I KNOW...
I FIND PENNIES VERY OFTEN, ESPECIALLY AFTER A TOUGH DAY EMOTIONALY...SHE IS TRYING TO SAY, DONT BE SAD!
We, who have been there, know how painful Christmas with friends and family can be. The rest of the family seems much too joyous. But they are all together and we have a huge hole in ours. Watching their joy is bad enough but the real pain is when our child is not mentioned; when no one recalls Christmases past, when he or she was there with them. Or, no one says how much our angel is missed at Christmas.
I have a suggestion which will probably help: Instead of, or along with your regular gifts to family and friends, give them a copy of When Your Friend's Child Dies. This is a quick and easy read for them and then they will understand that you must hear your child's name, that they must remember him or her.
CLICK HERE to check out the easy ways you can order
It will make a difference.