Kelly at The Beauty of Sufficient Grace is hosting a Christmas edition of "Walking with You", encouraging us to share how we remember our lost loved ones at Christmas time. This will be our 2nd Christmas without Seth and I'm still figuring out what I want to do, how best to honor and remember our sweet boy.
Last year, our first Christmas without Seth, would have also been Seth's first Christmas with us. I buy each of my kids a Hallmark ornament for Christmas. For their first 5 years, I buy the "my (1st, 2nd, etc) ornaments" and for the years after that, I buy the ornaments designed to have the school pictures in them. So I think I will get the first 5 years for Seth, as I have for the boys and am procuring for Kayleigh..
Last year's is already hanging on the tree. It looks like this: In addition to that, the boys and I picked out a Christmas stocking last year to hang and remember Seth. It's a Winnie the Pooh Baby's 1st Christmas and will hang on our "stocking tree" (we don't have a mantel) with all our other stockings each year.
Additionally, I received last year, and already this year, a couple of "memorial" ornaments from friends. I SO appreciate others remembering Seth and our loss and those are also hanging on our tree.
The boys and I both last year and this picked out Toys for Tots. I let each boy choose a toy they would have bought for Seth if he was with us for Christmas. Last year, we picked "baby toys". This year, Sean picked a "See N Say".. Cary picked an "Etch a Sketch".. Yeah, Seth might not have been ready for that one THIS Christmas, but I'm sure he would have been by next Christmas and I appreciate the effort!
It's become a tradition in our family to take the cousins to see Santa, when my sister is here for Thanksgiving with my nephew Jack. This is last years picture (when we were still numb and I hadn't yet started reading blogs and seeing what others do to remember their cherished lost babies):
And this years:
Did you see the difference? I mean, beside the fact that the kids are all bigger (and can you believe they're all THAT much bigger in YEAR? Where does time go?) We decided to take a stuffed animal or Seth's "magic blankie" to "represent" him. The boys chose to take a "surgery bear". This bear was given to us a the hospital, we got one before each of Seth's surgeries. They use them as educational tools and the boys, Cary especially, have shown a particular attachment to the surgery bear.. At any rate, that's something I'd like to add to our traditions..
I don't have any plans to do anything special at the cemetery but the boys usually like to pick out a "gift" at the dollar store and we take those "for" Seth.
So far, those are the things we're doing to honor and remember Seth. I suspect it'll change over the years and evolve but we're still early in this journey. Head on over to Kelly's to see what others are doing to remember the loved ones no longer with them.
I just want to add a couple of things... Christmas last year was SO painfully awful. I Really LOVE the poem ("I"m spending Christmas with Jesus this Year") that Kelly shared on her blog, and I find it/found it quite comfortiing. But it didn't/doesn't erase the fact that we don't get to have Seth with us for Christmas. I am comforted that he is in Heaven but Christmas, being all about a baby boy, was not an easy time. I am hoping/praying that this year is better.. God has begun healing my heart. I am calmer about Christmas but I don't expect to necessarily sail through. If you know someone who's missing a loved one this Christmas, even if it's not the first year, REMEMBER them. Let your friend or family member know that you care, that they aren't entirely alone in their hurt and sadness.
I do have GREAT hope. I KNOW that Seth is in Heaven and we will see him again. We couldn't have that hope without Christmas! Christ had to be born in order to save me and I am grateful. I don't know that I focused on THAT part of Christmas as much before Seth as I do now. Than you, God, for the gift of Christmas!