Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I wrote this the first Christmas after we lost Joan  just 2 short months after our firstborn baby died and was born.  I remember the agony of receiving daily Christmas cards with the adorable smiling faces of the children of everyone we knew, while there would be no first Christmas card with a photo of our new baby girl.

For any newly bereaved parent navigating this first Christmas after the loss of your precious baby, you are not alone.  I hope this is a reminder to treasure the small joys in life and hold on to hope…

I fear that this traumatic life event  the devastating loss of our beloved daughter Joan  has turned my husband into Martha Stewart.  He has been perusing recipe books, commandeering my Better Homes and Gardens magazines, baking up a storm... and now, the ultimate proof... He announced that he is going to try decoupage. Decoupage. Seriously.  I don’t even bake very often, let alone decoupage.  If you know my husband, you know that he is far from the domestic or crafty type, which makes this all the more unexpected.

In all seriousness, this post is intended to bring humor in a difficult situation.  And also to encourage those of you going through a similar grief experience, to find the things that bring you joy and embrace them.  Whether it’s discovering your inner homemaker or training for a marathon.  Start a new hobby if you feel a calling, or rekindle an interest that you haven’t found the time for in a while.  Just make sure it is not a potentially dangerous or destructive pastime.  Be kind and gentle with yourself.

While my husband is morphing from a man’s man to into a domestic goddess, I have found small joys and healing in other things.  Here are a few:
  • Reading whatever interests me at the moment (at first it was infant loss websites and self-help books about grief, then light romance novels with happy endings only, we’ll see what’s next…)
  • Journaling
  • Eating out at a favorite restaurant
  • Savoring a chai tea latte or jasmine green tea
  • A quiet walk near the beach with the afternoon sunlight glistening off the water
  • Creating photo books with pictures of Joan and inspiring quotes
  • Finding creative ways to donate to charities that are meaningful to us
And though our house has been in a nearly constant state of renovation for the last 4 years, with many projects partially completed and now sitting idle, I no longer care.  I am content to watch my husband bake and then enjoy eating some of the best cookies I have ever tasted.  I don’t even care about the additional pounds (caveat: to a certain degree.  I am a big proponent of everything in moderation, and we have also been conscious to make time to exercise since it helps with grief.)  Ironic how many new mothers are preoccupied by losing the baby weight quickly, while I now see how trivial that is in the grand scheme of things.  (But that is a post for another time – the many ironies of infant loss.)

For now, find your joy – even if it is only for a few minutes a day. Happy decoupaging.

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