“Getting through the holidays after the loss of a child” will be the focus of the Tuesday, Nov. 13, session of the St. Joseph-Breese Share group set for 7 p.m. in the hospital Managers Conference Room.
“Every day is a challenge and special days or a season such as Christmas can be even more difficult,” said Karen Gebke, host of the group with husband Scott.
“Getting through the holidays is a matter of doing what’s right for you and your family,” she said.
“What I do may not be right for the next person,” she said. “You have to learn what works and realize that your choices may—and probably will—change in the years to follow.”
In addition, pressures and expectations from others, family or friends, may be overwhelming to someone facing his or her first holiday season since the loss, she said.
“In particular, if parents have other children, there is pressure to make the holidays as normal as possible when you may actually wish you could just skip them all and wake up on Jan. 2,” she said.
“Many people expect you to ‘be over it’ by now and enjoy the holidays like before,” she said.
“I believe it is possible to enjoy the holidays but with the realization that it will be different,” Gebke said.
Also part of the discussion will be how to remember your child at this season or if you should.
For some parents, finding ways to incorporate their baby or child into the holidays is helpful, she said. Possibilities can include lighting a candle in his or her memory, hanging a special ornament on the Christmas Tree or wearing a special piece of jewelry.
“There are no right or wrong answers,” she said. “With a little consideration, you can determine what works for you and your family.”
The Share group, which generally meets the second Tuesday of each month, is for parents and family who have lost a child and is sponsored by the hospital’s Women and Infants Center.
Everyone is welcome—not just parents who delivered at St. Joseph’s in Breese—and there is no restriction on how long ago the loss occurred or how long someone can attend. There is no charge.