Holidays and the Death of a Child

by Deborah Anthony

197345_540496192649858_1384323324_nWelcome to the “holidays”, a component of the grief journey that can find everyone sporting a veil, not just the grievers. Holidays are those times when the most discord can surface, not only between the immediate family members of the child no longer here, but extended family member and friends as well.

In efforts to simplify this complex aspect that surfaces upon the death of a child, please consider the following perspectives:

For the grieving:

  • Create only that which you can manage
  • Follow your heart
  • Celebrate at the level you feel up to
  • Put yourselves first
  • Make a joint family decision incorporating at least one piece from each person
  • (meaning those living in the bereaved family home)
  • Make no more than a 20% change each year

For the non-grieving:

  • Ask for permission to give input
  • Know that acceptance/rejection of input is not for you to question
  • Embrace any change without judgment
  • Respect and honor that which is able to be managed
  • Do not name call or attach labels
  • Respect the memories that are no more and which play a huge role in the level of difficulty experienced by those grieving.

Deborah’s daughter, Erin Margaret Anthony, died in 1984 at the age of 6 as the result of being struck by a school bus she had just exited.