Child Loss: Facing Thanksgiving Without My Child

I had to get a few things from Walmart earlier today, and the store was filled with displays for Thanksgiving and Christmas already.  In fact, any store you go into has the same advertising going on.  I was pushing the cart along the doll aisle looking for a birthday gift for one of my granddaughters, when all of a sudden it hit me.  Grief.  Full blown grief!  I dug deep into my handbag to find a tissue to wipe the tears that were dripping down my face.  “Where did this come from?”  I asked myself.  I wasn’t expecting these emotions to come knocking on the door of my heart — not this many years later. 

But grief had arrived, and that’s just how it happens.  Grief from child loss shows up at the most unpredictable moments.

I can still remember the first Thanksgiving following the death of my thirteen-year-old sister Carmella.  She died on June 5.  The next big events following her death were birthdays — my younger sister turned seven on June 16, my dad (who wasn’t living with us) on June 25, and then my sixteenth birthday on June 29.  There were no celebrations, no cards, no cakes.  We were all in shock, and honestly, I don’t remember much of anything about those first several months following the death of Carmella.

But, Thanksgiving was different.  I was so tired of life feeling “dark.”  I guess that’s the only word to describe it.  My dad and mom had divorced when I was fourteen, so he wasn’t at home.  My living sister was only seven, so she didn’t understand much about what was going on.  And, there was my mom.  My poor, broken mom.  She didn’t get out of bed much at all.  She laid in bed and cried for hours on end — sometimes it was loud, moaning crying.  Other times choking sobs.  And, the scariest of all were the times when she’d lock the bedroom door and wouldn’t answer for hours.  I was so afraid that she, too, had died.

tears

She drank heavy during those months following my sister’s death.  She began in the morning, and she continued all day long.  I would put marks on the calendar which meant “drunk” and every day of the month had a mark.  She was sick, depressed, and needed so much help.  My mom’s heart was broken. But, sadly, that was during a time where the word “grief counselor” was unheard of — in fact, I’m not even sure I ever heard the word grief spoken in our home.

So, I was determined to make this a “happy Thanksgiving” for us.  Traditionally, we always went to my grandparents’ home on Thanksgiving, but this year my grandmother wasn’t in the mood, either.  She didn’t feel like fixing a turkey, but after some begging from me, she finally relented and said she would.  Finally, our family would feel whole again!

I had to attend a football game on Thanksgiving day because I was in the school’s color guard, so immediately following the game, we were to go to my grandmother’s for Thanksgiving dinner.  I was so happy, and so was my little sister! We were looking forward to a bit of “normal” — something we hadn’t had for a long time now.

When I got home from the game, my mom was in bed.  She had been sobbing all morning, and it took me a long time to coax her to get up so that we could go eat a turkey dinner.  More than the food, I just wanted to be around people who weren’t crying. I wanted my mom, my sister Ruthie, and I to experience a few hours without tears.

Because my mom had been drinking, I did the driving and she just sat and stared out of the car window with tears rolling down her face.  “Gosh, I wish she could just feel better!  Please, God, help me to know how to make my mom feel just a little better!”

When we walked into my grandmother’s, the turkey was all ready to be carved.  The house smelled amazing!  The aromas of roasted turkey mixed with freshly baked apple pie and pumpkin pies, and there were hot biscuits being pulled from the oven!  It was just as I remembered it!

turkey dinnerThere was only one thing wrong.  My sister Carmella was missing and her absence hit us all like a ton of bricks!  We weren’t ready to face “normal” yet — none of us were!  My mother went running to the livingroom where she sat in a corner and cried.  My grandmother went to her favorite rocking chair by the window where she could see the birds and cling to her bible.  My grandfather went outside and sat under the old grape arbor.  And, my sister Ruthie and I — we stood there not knowing what to do just holding onto each other.  We were all so lost and felt so alone and broken!

That first Thanksgiving following the death of my sister was miserable.  What did I know about grief?  Nothing!  I just wanted us to be some kind of a family again, but it was too soon.  The pain was too raw.  It was horrible.  My mother was in no frame of mind to even begin to think about the holidays.  She needed to be comforted and allowed to cry and cry and cry until there were no more tears left.  We were a broken family in grief and there was no road map to tell us how to get out.

It took several years for us to get to a place where we attempted Thanksgiving dinner again. And, even then it was different.

What I didn’t understand at the young age of sixteen was that grieving is necessary.  It’s a normal reaction to loss.  I wanted to push our family quickly back into a place of “normal” again, but I didn’t yet have it figured out that things would never be the same as they were before.  We each needed to do our grief work.  And, that was going to take a long, long time.

Grief from losing a child never ends — not completely.  How can it?  Our child was part of our heart — part of us.  When that part is missing, we ache.  We hurt.  We feel pain.  Yes, life does go on, and in time we will learn to smile through our tears.  But, we can’t force grief to leave.  It is our constant companion.  Sometimes it leaves us alone for a while, then returns to let us know it is still around.  We learn to respect grief.  Make room for grief.  And, in the end, we learn to live with grief.

hold-hearts-foreverIf you are about to face the first Thanksgiving without your child, please do what is best for you — even if that means staying home and crying tears of sorrow.  Allow your heart to guide you.  You’ll know when the time is right to re-enter life again, and you’ll know how to do it.  Give yourself the precious gift of time to grieve. Maybe McDonald’s will be your Thanksgiving dinner this year, and that’s okay.  Always do what is best for you!

Holidays are always difficult, painful and dreaded for those who have experienced child loss.  And, the grief can sneak up and hit you hard when you least expect it — even fifty years later in the doll aisle of Walmart!

When siblings are grieving, it really complicates the dynamics in a household.  My mom was in no condition to help me with my grief, and I sure didn’t know how to help her! What we needed were some friends to come up alongside of us and say, “Hey, I’m here.  I’m going to help you get through this first Thanksgiving.”  But, I think people often get busy with their own lives and forget that the holidays are terribly painful for those who are alone in their grief.

Grief is so hard and so scary when you’re doing it alone! 

It is my hope and prayer that as Thanksgiving approaches, you have a plan in place for how you’ll spend the day.  Prepare for it.  Do something different.  Don’t try to keep the same family traditions that you had before the death of your child because that won’t work. And, don’t be afraid to call on others for help!  Facing the holidays alone can be terrifying!  Lean on others for help and support.  And, remember that of the anticipation of the holiday is far worse than the holday.

My love and prayers to each one,

Clara

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56 Comments

    1. This will be my first Thanksgiving since my nine ye old daughter passed away August 23rd in her sleep.i can’t face a regular day lwy alone a holiday.we were going to go out but her younger siblings term for some kins of normallcy and as hard as it will be i am going to have it here. Although i know i have much to be thankful for it sure doesn’t feel like it through this unbearable grief!

      1. Jen,
        I’m so very, very sorry. The holidays seem to escalate our grief to a point where we find things to be almost unbearable. Somehow we manage to get through these hard days, but it’s not without a lot of pain. Often, I’ve found the anticipation leading up to the day of the holiday is worse than the actual day. It helps if we have some kind of a plan in place. This year for Thanksgiving, we did something a bit different. We had Thanksgiving on the Saturday before the actual day. That seemed to help a lot. It didn’t really feel like Thanksgiving, but the trade-off was that my grief wasn’t out of control. I hope your day was gentle.

  1. i feel like i grieve alone everyday. i was due to have my baby the day before Thanksgiving this year and lost my baby in august of this year. i read ur story and it brought tears to my eyes. sorry for the loss of ur sister

  2. I have hated Thanksgiving for almost 17 years. That was the day the doctors told me that my Kevin just wasn’t going to make it, despite all that they were doing. Thanksgiving has never been the same, nor will it ever be.

  3. My son has been gone 4 years today. He was only 22 and was killed in a car accident. Holidays are not the same and I so want them to be normal for my other children but don’t know how. Christmas is so hard.

  4. This is my 1st thanksgiving without my 12 yr old son Allister who past 1-27-13 from brain cancer and yes i am dreading the holidays but i know things will be different for us bc ma and my kids are moving to a new place saturday so i can be close to my parents for the holidays and i’m scared of how it will all play out. Thanks for the blog and i wake up each moring and look forward to reading your post on facebook and it really helps and then i get to read all the comments that are very imformative on what is to come and what other parents are going thru. Thanks for all of this info.

  5. This has been a year of firsts for me, some admittedly easier than others. I lost my baby early in my pregnancy on Valentines Day. I’m not yet sure how Thanksgiving or Christmas will be for me, not what I will be doing for them. Some days are easy, some days it feels like just yesterday.

  6. Thank You,, We Are Facing OuttFirstHolidays Without My Son,, Not Sure How To Do This And Very Scared Of Letting Others Down

    1. Sherri, Please, please don’t feel the pressure of letting others down. This is one time when it’s so important to do what is best for you — whatever that might look like. Have some kind of plan — maybe that plan is to take a walk in the woods and meditate, or to take a drive someplace and eat out where nobody knows you. Do what feels best for you. It’s okay to say to others, “Not this year. It’s just too hard.” My love to you.

  7. I’m so completely dreading the holidays. Everyone is going on as if nothing has happened & its killing me. My son just took his life on July 5th & it hurts to breath. Im tired of smiling & saying that I’m fine when all the while Im dying inside. Staying busy just isn’t enough anymore & I don’t know what to do.

    1. Harriett, I’m so very, very sorry. Sometimes we just have to give in to grief and allow ourselves to feel all of the pain and work through it. Your heart probably feels like it’s going to explode from holding in so much pain. Life must stop for us for a while (those of us who have lost a child) or we continue to push the grief aside until one day we have the big grief “pile up” as I call it. My thoughts and prayers are with you. This is such a lonely, difficult path to walk.

  8. This is soooo true. I lost my 19 year old son to murder in 2004, I have a very strong support group and a vey very awesome family. You are right holidays are never the same and grief can hit at any time any day 🙂 I have a daughter that is older than my son and she gave us our 1st grandson exactly 2 months after my sons death. I do believe God knew we would need something to help us and He gave us our wonderful grandson. It has been 9 years and I never know when I am going to break down. I am just thankful for the people in my life that have been there through it all and are still there to hold us up. Thank you for your blog.
    Karen Mitchell

  9. Thank you! Your story was so beautifully written. Your story has given me hope. Praying for the strength to face the holidays this year without my son. With love and comfort to all who are struggling and grieving.

  10. Clara your words speak to me so much. I lost my 10 yr old daughter Amy 18 months ago. I also have a15 year old daughter Megan. We are trying hard to continue without Amy but it’s so terribly sad and hard everyday. The heart ache is over whelming somedays and I just don’t want to talk to anybody. I don’t want to move on with my life, I’m not ready !!
    I read your words everyday and often share them to give people a little in sight into how I’m often feeling. Thankyou your words are comforting to me. X

    1. I’m so very sorry about the loss of Amy. Even though I’m so much older now (a mom and a grandma), I can still remember so clearly what it felt like at home after my sister died. We were so lost and everything was so sad. My sister and I shared a bedroom and it was horrible cleaning her things out of the room. Many nights I screamed into my pillow because it hurt so bad, and my poor mom was doing the same, only worse. There’s no guide book — no manual to follow telling us what to do because everyone experiences their loss just a bit different. Take your time, and just try to “get through the day” for now. The pain is still so raw. My love to you and Megan.

    2. Wow….this is emotional….we are at 27 months on the loss of our 30 yr old son….last night we commented that it does not seem so long ago and that it seems he should just walk in the door!!! Not a day goes by that we do not think of him & miss him….holidays are not easy….we changed things and do different as they have a whole different meaning!!!!!!

  11. thanks for sharing maybe it will help me through the holidays. My daughter died in September and I know its going to be hard on all of us my 10 year old grand child her child lives with us now and now I can help her and myself deal with this pain.

    1. Judy, Just by acknowledging your pain and say, “You know what? Let’s do something a little different this year” will be able to help your and your grand child so much. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your daughter. Life can be so hard.

  12. This beautiful story reminds me of our Thanksgiving, yes all the family was there but everybody felt the terrible loss we are all still facing! I soo totally felt the silence, the hurt, and just how much Brenda was soo sadly missed!! This story is soo very true! Life is very hard living without Brenda!! I am as well as all of us still and always will miss our gorgeous loving “BRENDA” Wow, this is soo very hard even to write!! We love you!!!

  13. Losing my son was the hardest thing I have ever had to face. It is also extremely difficult knowing that the brother he left behind is hurting and that he needs my help and I don’t know how to help. Seeing your child hurting and not being able to fix it is a tragedy in itself! Any suggestions on what I can do to help him? He does not like to express his feelings much but he will drop subtle hints that let me know that he too is “masking” his grief.

  14. I am not ready for my 1st holiday without my baby… In April I lost my four year old son… And on November 27th will be his 5th bday and the next day is thanksgiving 🙁 I don’t know how I will get through this without him here with me.. I feel like I have to force myself out of bed for my 8 year old daughter… She misses him so much…

  15. thank you for these words. My only son died almost 6 months ago and i am dreading the holidays and my birthday. thank you again

  16. It’s been 7 and 1/2 years since my youngest child died at the age of 18, very suddenly & unexpectedly. It has changed my whole life, outlook, perspective, forever. The pain of losing her never goes away, but the memories are softer and more gentle now. I can smile and laugh now & for awhile I wondered if that would ever happen again. But holidays are hard. (Halloween was Jamie’s favorite…) I still enjoy watching my grandchildren’s excitement over the holidays, but for me, they are always tinged with a sadness, a meloncoly

  17. Thank you sooooo very much. I’ve been struggling so with the approaching holidays; seeing the commercials and displays in the stores. I have felt like I want to do something different, but the family seems to want to try the same as always. I’m the one doing the cooking and it’s at my house. I haven’t cleaned my house since before my 10 yr old granddaughter died in June. I can’t; I don’t want to. I want to suggest that we go out to eat. I don’t know how they will respond.
    My friend bought the book for me. I can’t read yet, but I read your FB posts everyday and they are so helpful for me.
    I’m looking forward to help from you with Christmas, but trying to take one day at a time.
    Thank you for helping me to understand my feelings.
    Sharon

  18. I lost my mother Nov. 13, 2011 and it hurts so bad! I have sisters but they do not talk to me which hurts me also I feel so alone, I feels Clara pain but I have to go on with my life. you mentioned do something different I will!!

  19. My oldest son was killed in a car accident Sept.15,2000,He was 29 and had his own little family a son and a daughter..On thanksgiving everyone always came to my house for dinner and just good family times..I always started cooking on Wednesday for our dinner on Thursday,and I had everything done and we were usually eating by 1 or 1:30..Steve loved my cooking and bragged to everyone about how good his mama could cook..
    The Thanksgiving after his death I started on Wednesday night as usual..I got up early Thursday and went about doing what I needed to do,then it hit me,Steve wouldn’t be there.I totally broke down..I tried so hard to finish dinner but I just couldn’t do it..At 5:00 pm.I still hadn’t been able to focus enough to finish,I tried all day long,I cried all day long..Thanksgiving has never been the same..I haven’t really ever tried to make a big meal since that year..Thanksgiving is a hard day for me and it has been 13 years this year..I have no plans for that day at all..

    1. I’m so very sorry, Diane. I’ve had some tragic happenings in my life beginning six years ago, and I went into a total shut-down for a long time. All of the joy was drained from me. I used to love to cook and invite friends over. It was almost 4 solid years that I couldn’t cook anything. It was all I could do to heat water in the microwave for a cup of tea. Little by little, my love for cooking is coming back to me and that’s how I know that some healing is taking place. Give yourself time. Maybe you’ll never host another Thanksgiving dinner, and you know what? That’s okay. Find some way to remember your son in a very special way on that day and do all you can to take very good care of yourself. My love to you.

  20. Wow Clara, I really thank you for sharing these words and thoughts. I have been going through my emotions and our 14 year old has been too. We lost my son/her brother on April 16, this year. His 19th birthday is coming up on November 9th and its going to be oh so hard on us. I haven’t even begun to think about the holidays as every time I do, I get this feeling of sickness in my stomach. I do know that I want to do something for the holidays to remember my Isaac, but I don’t want to feel like a burden on anyone either. I may just stay home on that day and do our own little family thing. Who knows how I will feel? I am sitting here writing this and feeling so sick as it sinks in even more that he really is gone. We also lost my mom in February of this year and I have been going through the emotions with that as well. I hear from a lot of friends and family how strong I am but I am not as strong as others think. Yes, I have gotten myself back into college as well as started a new job. Putting that smile on my face has become second nature as I don’t want others to see my grief. I thank you for these kind words and sharing with us.

  21. This will be our first holiday season without my sweet 16 yr old Joseph…he crossed over in July. the 4tH his birthday. i just want to run away.

  22. Thanksgiving was the last holiday that I spent with my son. He was only 17 when he hung himself in my home while I was at work. My boss said that I shouldn’t rush home ~ so I worked over, and found him dead. I hate Thanksgiving and MY Christmas tree was almost finished and had gifts for him…of course my house looked like a florist ~ but I never took a picture tome at that time I didn’t want to remember. I also lost brother on Oct 26th to suicide. It is so hard I cry so much that it’s not healthy. What can I do to ease this pain. It is slowly killing me!

    1. Leslie, Death by suicide is probably one of the hardest of all deaths to accept. There are so many “what ifs”, “why didn’t I see this coming”, “if only” and on and on we go. I think in a case like yours — a very complicated grief — it would be so wise and helpful for you to get into some type of counseling specific to loss by suicide. I cannot imagine your daily pain — the burden you must be feeling, and the weight on your heart. Please know that there are no shortcuts — no easy answers. The best way to “do grief” is step-by-step, and day-by-day. Some days we do okay, and other days the grief is overwhelming and paralyzes us. I would suggest journaling your thoughts, and also quiet meditation along with deep breathing. I know those things might sound really silly, but they truly do help. You won’t see overnight progress, but you will see progress in a few months. Also, depression is often side-by-side with deep, inconsolable grief. If you’re feeling dark, desolate, and depressed, please see your doctor, Leslie. My love and prayers to you.

  23. My sweetheart of 60 yrs , and married 57, went to Heaven 3 months ago. Yesterday in Wall mart in the candy isle there were sacks of Mounds Candy Bars, small ones like Charley kept in his upstairs office ….. I wanted to buy him some so bad then at Cracker Barrel about an hr. later the little flat hats that he wore to keep his bald head warm ,, just called to me to buy him one again. Then I remembered that his head is not bald from chemo now and probably is covered with perfect brown hair and is no longer cold or hot but perfect. You just never know what will cause the tears to sting your nose or eyes now.

  24. I so dread the holidays coming up. My Cherie, 48, passed away July, 13th, 2013, from a severe asthma attack. Everything makes me cry,. I have never felt so torn apart in my life. Thye pain is so raw.

    1. I am so very, very sorry. May I make a suggestion that you not try to anything this year that involves forcing yourself to face people, trying to keep old family traditions going, and putting yourself in a placer where there will many grief triggers? I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t work. You will only go home feeling way worse than you did and it will take you weeks to recover from the strain that “faking it in front of others” places on you. Only do what you feel you’re able to do. My sister died from a severe asthma attack. My heart is with you, Donna. Again, I’m so very, very sorry.

  25. I am not looking forward to Halloween let alone thanksgiving or christmas. It was all I could do to just rake up the leaves knowing last fall my lil’ Peyton was helping to clean them up just to jump in them. Nothing has been the same and as much as I try to make believe I am ok I am not. I don’t know how to help my 13 year old he doesn’t want to talk about his little brother let alone talk about anything else. And I have to stay in my routine or I am a bear with a sore ass. I am angry a lot for no reason I just get mad and yell at everyone so now I tend to stay home instead.

    1. Oh, Cherie, I’m so very sorry. There’s a reason you’re angry. My gosh! Your little Peyton was taken away! It’s no wonder you’re upset and angry and yelling. Your heart is broken and in misery and in pain. I’m hoping to write more about the holidays in order to help parents who have lost a child understand that everything you’re feeling and experiencing is “normal.” What has happened to you (losing a child) is NOT normal. I’m sure your 13-year-old just needs reassurance from you that you love him. Even if you write brief notes and leave them on his pillow saying, “I’m so sorry that all I do is cry and yell, but I’m having trouble getting through this. It hurts really bad right now since Peyton is gone, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. I still love you with all of my heart and soul. One day we’ll feel more like a family again. But, for now, I just need you to be patient with me.”

  26. Thank you for sharing. I too, am dreading the holidays this year. It is a double-edged sword for my family. It is our first everything since our daughter Molly died. But also, she died on Christmas Eve. She was 6 and died from the flu. The change of seasons has been such a huge emotional trigger.

    1. Kelly, I’m so very sorry. I just wish that things like this never had to happen. Life is so hard and cruel sometimes. And, things like the loss of your Molly just don’t make sense. I just wish I could reach out beyond these pages and give each and every parent a big hug. I know that wouldn’t take away any pain, but I just want you to know that I sincerely care.

  27. From the month of October to December really is very hard for my husband and I. When October rolls around I am so ready for January it’s not funny. October 6th was our child Joshua’s birthday. Josh was 16 when he died in a car accident on Christmas Eve in 2006. He was only three miles from our home. This time of the year is hard for us even though it will be seven years this year. I do not like thanksgiving or Christmas. I have become a pro on putting on the mask and pretending to be happy when I am dying inside. It’s bad enough to lose a child but on Christmas Eve is the worst.

    1. Rhonda, I cannot imagine what that would be like — to lose your son so close to home on Christmas Eve. Hearing this makes my heart hurt with you. I hope that you’ve found ways to get through the evening and the day without having to keep on the “jolly ho ho ho” mask for others. I know that we feel obligated to put on that happy face for others, but only do it as you are able. I hope you’ve somehow incorporated Josh into your Christmas — maybe adding a special ornament in his honor each year, or presenting a gift to a special chairity in his name. Just doing something “in memory of” give strenth and validity. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

      1. Clara We do a tree in his memory. I call it Josh’s tree of life. Close friends and family gather with us for Christmas Eve dinner. My family is more understanding than my husband. One more way we celebrate Josh is we have adopted the road where he had his accident. We gather with as many as 50 people so far to clean Josh’s road. We do this four times a year. Your site is wonderful.

        1. Oh, how beautiful! I’m smiling as I’m reading this. I hope that lots of other parents will read this and possibly get some ideas of ways they can still involve their child in the holidays. I think when we “do something” it make us feel so much better. Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. My 29 year old son died on August 25, 2013. It had been so hard since then. Some days are good and so many others are bad. I was in such shock that Labor day is a blur. I’m facing the “real holidays” now including Halloween which would have been his 30th Birthday. I just don’t know how I’m going to make it.

  29. My son David died at the age of 16 from Leukemia. He fought for nearly 3 yrs. It will be 6 yrs on Thanksgiving day this year. I am already stressing it. I just don’t know what to do.

    1. I’m so very sorry, Peggy. I think it will help you if you come up with a plan ahead of time — think of something that you can do that will help get you through the day — even if it means staying hidden under a blanket all day. Some anniversary dates are harder than others and when we’re just a little prepared it helps. Keep reminding yourself that this is 24 hours. Take it hour-by-hour and only do what you’re able to do. Don’t try to please other people. This is your time to rememember David. If you need to cry, then cry. I think one of the worst things we can do is try to be a people pleaser and fit into the mold they make for us. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  30. Next month will be the 1st Thanksgiving without my daughter. I have to attend my husbands family thanksgiving and then my own family’s thanksgiving. My husbands will be the hardest because his nephew is the same age as my daughter. Seeing him and just being around is so difficult because my baby would be doing the same if she was here. Being fed some sweet potatoes or piece of turkey. I don’t know how tough I will be this thanksgiving or Christmas.

  31. Clara, I love to read your posts they are so enlightening and they really touch my heart, this article could have been my daughter writing about me. It was almost scary how close it comes to our own story. Did you loose a child as well or is your experience from loosing your sister? I would like to have my daughter read this and see your site, I know she would relate to it as well. I have two online support groups for mother’s who enjoy your posts as well, I wrote to you and asked if I could pass them along, and I always post where they are coming from, thank you again. You are a wonderful help.

    1. Judy, Thanks so very much. Yes, I did experiences child loss in my own life — six miscarriages at different stages, as well as one stillborn baby boy. 🙁 A lot of my writing is a reflection of my own personal pain, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now. It is always my prayer that there will be something written that will help. Thank you, Judy.

  32. This will be my first year without my daughter. She would have been turning 15 just the day before, so not only is this the first thanksgiving without her, but will be her first birthday. On top of all that, her one year mark will be only 9 days later. Her viewing fell on my husbands and my anniversary… I’m having panic attacks several times a day as the days grow nearer and nearer. I don’t know how to do this… I don’t know how to walk into something that I know will be so extremely painful. It feels just like when she first died, only I don’t have the blessing of numbness to go with it. I don’t have the blessing of the unexpected, I know exactly what is coming, and I can’t stop it. I can relive almost ever single day leading up to that awful day when my daughter… my perfect daughter… was taken from me.

    1. Jenelle, I’m so, so sorry to hear this. You have so many firsts coming up all at once that I can understand the panic and anxiety you are feeling. This is when you need some support, and I pray you have someone who will be near you to help you walk this path for the next few weeks to get you through. Often, but not always, the anxiety leading up to the day is far worse that the actual day(s) themselves. By the time the day arrives we are exhausted and just fall into a numbing sleep. That’s the only coping method that worked for me. I would cry until I couldn’t cry any more then on the anniversary date I just forced myself into a non-thinking place where I wouldn’t allow my mind to go there. It was too hard. Maybe that will work for you, too. Or, maybe you should take a few days and go away someplace that will be new — unfamiliar to you where you will see new things and different surroundings and feel like your mind can take a mini-escape. The best thing to do is try to plan ahead what you think will work for you and then do that (hopefully with a family member or friend) to help through these terribly difficult firsts. I’m so very, very sorry for the loss of your daughter. My love to you.