From the beginning of November and until at least mid-January we are surrounded by Christmas everywhere we look. And while intact families prepare with excitement, many of us fall into a deep pit of grief, as we remember Christmases past when our child was here and we could also enjoy the season’s festivities wholeheartedly.

How do we survive Christmas after our children have died? You can try to pretend it isn’t happening, but it’s going to keep hitting you at every turn, unless you spend two months every year in a part of the world where it’s not celebrated -which for most of us is unrealistic.

Or -like me- you can try to create new traditions, perform new rituals in honour and memory of your child, and make him or her part of everything you decide to do, while allowing yourself to lean into your grief when you need to and trying to take care of yourself and your broken heart as much as you can.

With this in mind, I have put together a document to explore the origins of the season’s festivities -in the hope that this will give traditions and rituals a different meaning- and I have compiled a series of tools which may help you find some comfort this Christmas season.

They are just some ideas that I find useful. Take what serves you and leave the rest. I’m not an expert. I’m just another bereaved mum trying to help myself and others on this unimaginable journey. There is no right or wrong way to handle Christmas after you have lost a child. Honour him or her in your own way and do what you need to do to find even a little bit of peace and to prevent further unnecessary pain to your aching heart.

Holidays and special days can also become a time of reflection, recollection and reconnection with your child. No one can grieve for you. Each one of us must walk our own path. Handling the holidays and special days isn’t about eliminating the pain, but rather about managing the pain we experience in the best way we can. I sincerely hope you can find some peace this Christmas.

Go to the Downloads page to get my free eBook: ‘Yule, An Alternative Christmas for Bereaved Parents’.

With love,

Marta Arce-Dubois