Remembrance During the Holidays
By Gina Harris, MNM, Chief Executive Officer
A remembrance ritual is an action you take to symbolize your love and honor for a person who has died. The action can be public or it can be private. It may be a one-time event or a regular event such as daily, weekly or monthly. Remembrance rituals can continue for however long the person experiencing the grief needs.
The holidays by nature tend to be chaotic for people in general. Grief by itself has been described by a number of experts as chaotic. When you couple the holidays with grief, life may feel even more chaotic and when there is chaos, you can feel out of control.
The grief graphic gives an illustration of what grief can look and feel like.
According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, remembrance rituals can have a powerful effect in helping people cope with chaos that can come with the impact of loss. Creating remembrance rituals around the holidays could be the most important time of the year to do so.
After experiencing a loss of a baby, grieving families can feel like their lives are out of control. Remembrance rituals can restore that feeling of control and make it easier to cope with grief.
Karla Helbert of goodtherapy.org says, “While rituals can vary widely, the underlying principle of restoring a sense of control is usually the same.”
Remembrance rituals can help alleviate the despair and the dread of the holiday season. Helbert goes on to say that remembrance rituals can provide “a certain order to an existence that otherwise might be full of confusion and chaos.”
After suffering such a tragic loss of a baby, individuals can feel less confident that their world is safe and predictable. Remembrance rituals can play a role in helping grieving individuals find some sense of meaning in their lives, when meaning may not have been there due to their loss.
When you create remembrance rituals you are:
Honoring your baby/ies.
Validating your baby/ies lives and the impact they had on the lives of others.
Provides healing for yourself.
As we enter the holiday season, here are some ways you can incorporate remembrance rituals:
Purchase a NILMDTS Commemorative Ornament.
Make a donation to NILMDTS in memory of your baby.
Donate handmade blankets and hats for the NILMDTS Care Packages.
Volunteer with NILMDTS or another pregnancy and infant loss organization.
Acts of kindness.
Do an act of kindness in memory of your baby.
Ask others to do an act of kindness.
Document the acts of kindness and put it in your baby’s stocking.
Create a memory scrapbook.
Light a candle at a certain time of day or day of the week to remind you of your baby – the time your baby was born or the day of the week.
Plant a tree or flowers.
Get a tattoo.
Carry something with you that reminds you of your baby.
Create artwork including artwork with your baby’s footprints.
Decorate a special tree.
Purchase a gift for a child in need who is the same age your baby would be.
Get a special piece of jewelry.
Include your baby’s name in holiday cards.
Make a memory box for keepsakes.
Name a star after your baby.
Take pictures of what you do for remembrance rituals each year.
Continue rituals as long and as often as you need them. You may carry on the same rituals for many years and there may come a time where you stop. This is entirely up to you and how you feel.
You can start your remembrance rituals now and help other bereaved families who need NILMDTS photographic services. Make a donation today in memory of a baby and/or purchase the 2016 NILMDTS Commemorative Ornament. All proceeds benefit NILMDTS.
Helbert, Karla. Creating Rituals to Move through Grief. Retrieved from: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/creating-rituals-to-move-through-grief/
Avenues Counseling. A Grief Hangover. Retrieved from: http://avenuescounselingcenter.org/grief-hangover/
Vitelli, Romeo. Can Rituals Help us Deal with Grief? Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201403/can-rituals-help-us-deal-grief