The holidays are hard. They can be filled with so much joy, but if you are missing someone you love, especially if its early in your journey, they can be borderline unbearable. If this is your first Christmas without your child, I give you full permission to skip this holiday and all of its festivities all together. You do whatever you need to do to survive.
The expected holiday triggers are avoidable. Saying no to holiday parties, or skipping on your annual family outings because, quite frankly, you can’t imagine the thought of celebrating when your child should be with you, and they aren’t. It’s just cruel to expect you to be joyful when all you want is your baby. The anxiety leading up to events like these is all-consuming and can suck the life right out of you, so skip them if that makes you feel better!
I have found though, that it’s the unexpected triggers that really bring me to my knees. Each year its been something different. The first time we went on the Polar Express with the kids, but without Harper, I almost couldn’t make it through the train ride. I wanted everyone on that train to know our entire family WASN’T present as the passersby would comment on our “beautiful family.”
This year it’s the hanging Christmas stockings from the mantle. It’s the first time we have a mantle to hang stockings, and seeing the kid’s names in print without Harper’s second in line is a glaring reminder that she is missing. So, what will I do to help with this? I will buy her a stocking and hang it up with the others. There is something about all of our kids’ names in print – brings me to my knees every time, which is why we sign our holiday cards from “The Korba Family.”
You can live in fear of an “unexpected trigger” being right around the next corner and just avoid everything all together, or you can be armed with a plan for when they strike. I want you to know that if you are caught crying in public because something strikes you, you are not alone. I have done this too many times to count. Think of it this way….if anyone ever asked you what you were upset about and you answered, I miss my child, she died, they would probably bring out the tissues and cry along with you, so DON’T be embarrassed if this happens. Just know that its part of living and grieving the life of a child.
The plan can be anything you want it to be, but for me, I like to make sure I have an “out” at all times. If I am anxious about an event, I tell my husband, I need an out, and that means at anytime I can leave, we can leave, and just knowing I can escape usually alleviates the anxiety.
Make your plan to help you get through this season, and then honor your emotions when the arise. See the emotion for what it is, a symbol of deep, unrelenting love. Overtime, the holidays will regain their sparkle, but until then, be protective of your heart. You deserve it.