These tips are not for the newly grieved, because we all must grieve in our own way and in our own time. These tips are some things that have helped our family and helped us to be able to celebrate the life of our son and turn it into a joyful occasion, instead of a somber one. Each holiday that came, we deeply mourned the life of our son, because it meant another milestone we would not experience him growing up with us. We knew that each holiday that came, we desperately wanted to enjoy them again, with our two other children, but didn't want to forget about our son. We had to come up with new ways to honor him, celebrate his life, to carry on his legacy. The fact of the matter is, life goes on whether our son is here with us or not. We want to carry out the love we have for him in our hearts; what we do with that love matters.
"As you go through life, no matter what you do, or how you do it, you leave a little footprint, and that's your legacy."
Our son Bowen made a lasting imprint on our hearts that will last forever. His life was too precious not to celebrate it for years to come. I hope these tips are helpful, the way they have helped our family to be able to carry on our son's legacy in the most loving way possible.
1. Sponsor a Family- Sponsoring a family is a great way to give back especially in honor of our son. This year we were able to sponsor a family from the Phoenix Children's hospital. There are many families in need who could use help. Bowen's Hope has families one could sponsor from the Phoenix Children's Hospital or one could try their local church or a children's hospital to find a family to sponsor for the holidays. If you are interested in sponsoring a family click here.
2. Start a tradition- Have a Christmas tree ornament made in honor of your loved one. Our family went to a pottery place to handpaint ornaments for Bowen. We loved doing this together and every year we have his ornament to hang on the tree to remember not only our son, but the fun time we had together creating it.
3. Hang a stocking- We hang a stocking every year with Bowen's name on it, as a way to honor and recognize his existence not necessarily act as though he still exists. Our children actually look forward to hanging the stockings and like to recognize their brother for the short time he was here.
4. Buy Lots of Angels- Our family has a lot of angel tree ornaments, and ornaments of Bowen we like to hang on our tree to recognize him and give him a special place on the tree, the way he has a special place in our hearts.
5. Serve together- Over the holidays it is a great time to give back and serve at a much needed time. There are many things in a community to do together as a family such as the local homeless shelter serve a meal or at the Ronald McDonald house serve a meal, or visit a senior center to visit a senior or veteran who doesn't have any family and brighten up their day!
6. Go Christmas Caroling- This is something my family has not done, but it is a good way to spread some cheer over the holidays!
7. Light a Candle- Every year our family goes to a Christmas Eve Church service and we light a candle for Bowen.
Giving back, serving and starting traditions are just a few ways to help one get through the holidays. We find that when we are doing things in honor of our son, that it takes away the focus of our grief. That honoring him puts the focus on spreading joy, which puts the joy back into our holiday. It is about creating new memories together that are joyful. There are many ways to honor a loved one, to not only keep their memory alive but to carry on their legacy. I hope these tips are helpful during this holiday season. If you have some helpful tips that helped you get through the holidays please share them, I would love to hear what they are and maybe it is something our family can do as well!
Other ideas baking cookies, making cards, going on a trip, decorating the Christmas tree together, just to name a few.......
Most of all try to enjoy this holiday season by celebrating your loved one's life. Don't try to do it all. Sometimes when we are grieving we just can't do everything we could before our loss. The holidays are meant to enjoy not be emotionally drained or exhausted! Have a Blessed Holiday! And may this holiday be filled with lots of Joy!
On the Inside, where God is making new life not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. 2 Corinthians 4:16 MSG