Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions are super important to my husband and I. We LOVE christmas time, we got engaged on Christmas day in 2012, we got married three days after christmas in 2013, so lets just say we like it, a lot. We want our children to grow up so excited for the holidays and this special time of year. I love everything to do with Christmas, from the tree to the stockings to the smells and the food. It has always been such a special time in my life since I was a little girl. 

Now that I have kids of my own I always want to make them appreciate this time of year. Not only are the presents fun but the meaning of this year is most important of all, the birth of Jesus. Now that Jaxon is in heaven I feel like is even more important to create memories for my daughter for her to remember her big brother and to incorporate him into our holiday season. I figured I'd make a post about some special things we do this time of year, for families who have lost a child and also for families who haven't. Hope you enjoy!

We created a tree in Jaxons memory that we put ornaments that belonged to Jax or that were given to us for him since he passed. Every year we purchase an angel ornament to go along with the tree. Last year we put it outside and this year we are going to put in the play house we have in our back yard to protect it from the weather. You can do this with a child loss or any family member that has passed away.

I can't wait to purchase ours for this year but both Christmass we had with Jax we did matching pajamas and it was SO much fun. We take a little Christmas picture in them and lounge around all day comfortable and cute! Some of my favorites are pajama grams, hanna andersson and target!

Jax & I in our matching Christmas penguin pjs 2014.
Christmas morning, 2015.

Now I know some people get SO stressed about family pictures but don't be. It is actually a lot easier then we make it seem and I have two examples. This picture below was taken by US. No photographer, no outfit prep just us in our Matching Jammies, a string of lights and a self timer remote. It was so simple and non stress and if they didn't turn out great it was ok. It was actually one of my favorite memories with Jax because he would smile but then as soon as I say cheese he'd stop haha. 

christmas card pic 2015

You can always go the more traditional route and hire a photographer or ask some one in your family to take the pictures and look on pinterest for clothing ideas and locations so you don't stress yourself out. It should be fun and its all about being able to look back at all your christmas cards to see how your family has changed and grown over the years. 
christmas card 2014

christmas card pics 2017.

This is pretty simple but getting a candle to light for the whole day in memory of your loved one that has passed away or some people "save a seat" for a loved one in heaven. I think both are amazing ideas. we did the candle last year for thanksgiving and christmas. 

Watching your favorite christmas movies together (maybe in your matching jammies) with some hot cocoa and treats by the fire, nothing cozier than that! a couple of our favorites are: the grinch, frosty the snow man, home alone and elf. 

I did this first with my nieces after Jax passed away. I gave them outfits from their cousin from heaven and i think it was awesome for them to get little gifts from him. I did it for our baby shower with a book from Jax to Lo all about angels. And this year for christmas I am going to get Landree and her cousins some presents from Jax from heaven. Its kindof like a second Santa for kids and adults. Knowing they are getting a special gift from heaven makes their loved one who has passed on seem present in the holiday season. 

Every time I have a baby I make their first Christmas ornament special. I buy a plastic (or you can do glass) clear ball ornament and then I use cute sticker letters to spell out their name and the year they were born on the outside. Then I fill the inside with the hat they wore in the hospital, their id bracelet and anything else special you want (I cut up Jaxons birth announcement and put it inside his). I just think its something SO special that hopefully Landree (and our future kids) can look at and remember it throughout the years and will want to do for their kids too. 

I hope these ideas help you make some amazing family traditions and memories this year. Please share any of yours that make an awesome holiday season. 

xoxo, t.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Don't be Silent

If you know someone who has lost a child, don’t be silent. Don’t shy away from talking with them just because you don’t want to make them sad, or you don’t want to say the wrong thing or you simply don’t know what to say at all. Speak up. Send a text telling the person you are praying for them because most of the time we are too proud to ask for prayers. Leave a coffee on their porch or sweet note or gift to let them know they have crossed your mind. Be the hands and feet of Jesus, cook a meal, ask to watch their other children or ask if they need to talk or maybe just show up to give them a hug. 

It’s hard to know the right thing to do when their whole world has come crashing down around them but the best thing you can do is ASK, ask how you can love them in this season? Ask them if they need prayer or even just a hug! Ask them if they feel like talking about their child or if they would share their favorite memory of them with you. Don’t just do nothing because you feel as though you will do or say the wrong thing. True, that nothing you can say will make their pain any less but the things you DO and say can shine light back into their lives. 

When your child dies you feel like everyone else just goes on with their life and you are stuck emotionally and physically. There is no “moving on” from the death of a child there is only moving forward. And with each step we take the more painful it is because each step into a new hour, day or week is that much time further away from the last kiss or hug or moment with your child. 

Some mothers say they can never imagine what we go through but try. Try to imagine a life without your baby, your child. Even the thought of if makes you sick, right? So imagine that sickness multiplied but it’s not just a thought it’s your life. Your day to day, moment to moment life. And there is no waking up from it, it’s forever. We will never kiss or laugh or talk with our babies again on this earth. 

But then imagine you grieving your child and you’re completely alone. No one to come along side you and hold your hand. Of course the initial days and weeks following your child’s passing people are so present and checking in and then one day it all just stops, or that’s how it feels. People go on with their lives and its not their faults because it wasn't their child who passed away. 

But then it starts to seem that no one mentions your loss out loud, and no one says your child’s name in fear of reminding you, but I’m hear to tell you. There is no reminding us because we are ALWAYS thinking of our child. It is a song in our hearts that is on repeat and you can never make us sad by mentioning them. I am already sad and thinking about my son from the time my eyes open in the morning to the time my eye close at night. He is with me always.

Don't forget about the daddys too. They are told to be strong and take care of their family all while their hearts are broken and spirits crushed right along side the mamas & other siblings as well. Everyone handles grief differently but every single person who has lost a child just wants to know their loss matters to you and you see them in their hurt. That their suffering is not lost in the hustle and bustle of this busy world. Sometimes that is how it is perceived to a grieving parent, that our loss has been glanced over and that our child has been forgotten. 

Jackie Cooper Photography

As parents we are all part of a club. This club should come with encouraging words and friends who carry your burdens with you. We aren’t meant to walk these scary, hard roads alone. We are built for community and deep relationships that know our hearts and help heal our hurt. One of your friends will lose a parent, they will be devastated but walk with them. One of your friends will have a failing marriage that might end in divorce, be a pillar for them, hold them up, let them lean on you. And more than likely one of your friends will lose a child, whether a miscarriage, still birth, tragedy or illness. Hold their hand, don’t let them do it alone. Come along side them and carry their hurt. Don’t be silent. 

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

This is a post that I have been trying to formulate for awhile. Every time I am about to post it I feel like I missed something but I know I need to post it in case there is someone who needs to read it. I hope you know this is just from my opinion and a couple of other angel mamas I have talked with. If there is something I've missed or a side I need to speak on please feel free to contact me and I could always do a Part 2 of this post. Thanks for stopping by.