SUDC Bereavement Series Topic 9

Holidays, Birthdays and Special Events

Topic 9 – Month 9

A question that we are always asked is, “How do I deal with events like holidays, birthdays, weddings, and parties?” 

This is such a difficult question to answer because those days are different for everyone.  Sometimes they are painful, sometimes joyous, or maybe something you may want to completely avoid.  What we can tell you is that special times will always bring reminders of our precious children.  Externalizing the loss can help keep it real, tangible, and palpable. Light a candle, share a happy story about your child, plant a flower or make a special meal that your son or daughter loved.  

We may anticipate the way we will feel or may be caught off guard. There is no normal or perfect reaction. It is natural to feel different about holidays and celebrations. Remember to lean on your support system and voice your feelings. Experiencing the emotions that come with holidays now are part of your journey. It’s okay to remember and honor the love and happy times you had with your child.   

You may realize that the time leading up to the day is worse than the day itself. Below are some tips to help you decide what is comfortable for you.   

Below is adapted from “Bereavement & Loss Resources” a publication of Rivendell Resources and Grief Net 

Coping with Special Days and Events 

  • Lower your expectations of yourself.  
  • Give yourself permission to feel and do whatever you think is right. Try not to think about what other people think you should do and feel. 
  • It’s OK to stay away from children for a while. 
  • Pick and choose the family events you will attend.  
  • Find comfort or inspiration in a holiday event or a new tradition.  
  • Recognize the child’s presence in the family – light a candle, hang a stocking, look at photographs, play music they liked, etc. 
  • Offer kindness and support to others who are having a hard time.  
  • Set some goals.  
  • Do something special for yourself.  
  • Look to your religious beliefs for strength and support.  
  • Plan ways that can help you handle uncomfortable situations.  
  • Plan a special event for just your baby’s parents.  
  • Share with your family and friends what helps and what hurts.  
  • If you have other children, try to make the holidays/event fun for them.  
  • Holidays/special events can be emotionally and physically draining. Try to get enough rest.  
  • Anticipation of any holiday /event can be worse than the actual day.  
If you have any questions about this, or would like additional support  please contact The SUDC Foundation    
800-620-SUDC or 973-783-2592 (Not a Hotline) 
Support@SUDC.org  
 
If this is an emergency, or you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255