Helen Beachell, from our family support team, shares how Christmas can be a difficult time for some of our families. And how finding a way to mark the festive season that works for them can really make a difference.
“Christmas is all about families. Which makes this season particularly hard for some of the families we support. Those families whose loss means Christmas will never be the same again.
They come to us full of questions and anxieties. How should we mark Christmas? What should I put in Christmas cards? How do we make Christmas special for our other children? How do we get through the day?
And our family support team is there to listen. To give mums and dads and brothers and sisters the time and the space to express their worries. To work things through. To help them see that they’re not alone – and that these feelings are not unusual or abnormal. And to help them come up with a way to lessen those anxieties – in whatever way works for them. This might be changing some of those Christmas traditions, to make new ways of marking the occasion. Or it might be finding a way to involve the child that’s gone – like the family who couldn’t bear the idea of not getting their daughter a present even though she wouldn’t be there to open it. So they decided to buy her something she’d have loved and then together, as a family, donate it to charity.
We can’t change what’s happened to these families. But we can be there for them and, by listening and supporting them, help them find a way to mark Christmas that makes it special and meaningful for them, however they choose to do that.”