Firstly I have to acknowledge that I didn’t finish Capture Your Grief! I didn’t do the last day!!!!!!! I was getting ready for a Halloween party and didn’t manage to get a sunset picture and used that as a reason not to finish. I still plan to take a sunset picture one of these days!!!!!! I think though that maybe I just didn’t want it to be over either. Having that time for Isobel every day was hard but lovely too and wrapping it up, marking it as complete, felt wrong. Or maybe I’m reading too much in to this and it was just pure laziness? Anyway it’s stopped me writing as I wanted to keep all the Capture Your Grief posts together but today I’ve decided that life is messy and incomplete so I should just get on with it!
Somewhere on Facebook I saw a ‘Holiday Grief’ survival programme by Crazy Good Grief where you could sign up to daily emails to prepare for the emotional onslaught of the Christmas period. So far the tasks have been to think about what events or traditions during the holidays might be challenging for you, to then decide if you want to keep them/modify them/skip them this year and also to think about how to honour your missing loved one at these times.
This was my list of events I could think of:
- Christmas lunches with friends
- Putting decorations up at home
- SANDS Lights of Love Carol service
- Christmas Eve
- Cute babies on Facebook in Christmas outfits
- Christmas Day – visit grave or not?
- Due date of friend’s baby
I don’t want to avoid any of the events this year so planned some little things to help.
Christmas lunches with friends. For my Christmas lunches planned with two groups of friends I bought myself a new dress! Quite superficial but I’ve not done much shopping because of finances and my body still being bigger than I would like, so having something new to wear will help me face those! I’ll also be sure to wear my charm bracelet which feels (in the tiniest of ways) like having Isobel with me.
Putting decorations up at home. I bought a lovely bauble for Isobel on Not on the High Street as well as an I initial decoration. I then found Elephant Parade – a charity supporting elephant conservation and had to order one of their elephant hanging decorations. It looks like they bring out different designs each year, so I was thinking we could make it a tradition to get one each year. At some point in the future I may need a tree just for elephants but I’m ok with that!
SANDS Lights of Love Carol service. This one is all about Isobel really. I will be reading a poem for her, E.E Cummings [i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]. I love this poem, we had it at our wedding last year and the service will be a couple of days short of our wedding anniversary. I will also be bringing a present to the service – the idea is that you bring a present for a child the age yours would/should be and they are donated to charity. I had a good weep yesterday choosing a really cute outfit, the most beautiful soft leather shoes and a little book and comforter. I so so (to infinity) wish I was spending silly money on presents for my soon-to-be six month old Isobel. But I hope that whoever receives the present feels the love that went in to the choosing of it.
Christmas Eve – I usually love love love Christmas Eve, it’s so magical. I predict that this is when I’m going to struggle most. All our dreams of Christmas with our baby just shattered. Simon and I haven’t quite worked out what we’re going to do for Christmas Day yet so I’m not sure where we’ll actually be. This links with: Christmas Day – visit grave or not? I need to check if the cemetery is even open and we need to decide where we’re staying on Christmas Eve. One idea that I have is to set off Chinese lanterns either on Christmas Eve or on Boxing Day. 26th December will be Isobel’s six month birthday so maybe then would be good. I want to get a nice wreath for the grave and will light a candle for Isobel at Christmas lunch so her little absent presence is marked.
Cute babies on Facebook in Christmas outfits. This one killed me on Halloween. So. Many. Babies. Dressed. As. Pumpkins! Don’t think I have a strategy for this. Stay off FB would be the obvious one but I can’t see that happening. I guess forewarned is forearmed?!
Due date of friend’s baby on 1st January. I feel bad for including this as something that will be challenging but realistically it will. She is the closest person to me that will be having a baby since I lost Isobel. I know I will be overjoyed when her baby arrives safely but I’m pretty sure it will be painful too – in the sharp contrast of my experience and hers, in her having what I wanted and thought I had. Acknowledging this duality and recognising that a little resentment or bitterness doesn’t make me a bad person – in short compassion for myself – is my strategy here. Our other friends will be aware of this and I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan to visit her together.
That’s all for now. I’m happy with the plans I have made so far but am fully aware that I’ll probably be floored by some completely unexpected trigger that I haven’t remotely considered! The joy of grief eh?!