Sat, Dec 02|
Let Grace In Christmas Gathering
The holiday season can be difficult. You are not alone in this. Let's come together to remember our children over dinner, create a memorial lantern or ornament and be in the company of other families who are living a similar journey.
Time & Location
Dec 02, 2023, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM HST
Bluewater Mission, 1114 Mona St, Honolulu, HI 96821, USA
About the Event
Each year, Let Grace In has a tradition of making memorial ornaments. We will carry on this tradition of creating an memorial lantern/ ornament in memory of your child at this gathering on Saturday, December 2nd. On the following Wednesday evening, December 6th, 2023, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children will have a memorial tree triming service at Central Union Church. This event is open to parents/ohana grieving the death of their child. You have the option to take your memorial ornament to this event (or any other ornament) to adorn the trees.
If this is your first or twenty-first Christmas without your child, it can be deeply painful.
Lisa Clark, PhD, Quality of Life psychologist and director of Grief Support at St. Jude Research Hospital, speaks with Enrique and Leticia Ramirez. The couple lost their daughter years ago, and now offer grieving parents tips for getting through the holidays.
1. Be kind to yourself. Go slow. You don’t have to do the things you don’t want to do. Do what’s best for you. Don’t take on the Christmas dinner and the presents and everything if you don’t feel like it. Be kind to yourself
2. Do whatever works. “Parents who’ve lost a child shouldn’t feel guilty for living life,” Leticia said. “There was a time when I’d laugh and I’d catch myself and stop. I would think that I shouldn’t be laughing because my child died … but you have to experience these things. If you repress them, ... you lose those moments of joy. It changes who you are and who you can be.”
3. Realize you’ll never be the same. Leticia said she felt guilty at first about not being able to continue past traditions her family had shared with Arianna. “But that person is gone,” she said. “I had to understand the person who made gingerbread houses and Mickey Mouse pancakes every Christmas morning is gone.”
4. Surround yourself with help. “Surround yourself with people who aren’t going to make it worse,” Leticia said.
5. Keep the memory. One of a bereaved parent’s biggest fears is that their child will be forgotten. Create a new tradition of remembering your child.
6. Trust yourself. It’s OK to have difficult days. They can come when you least expect it. Grief is individualized. There is no right or wrong way to experience it. “Allow yourself to feel those feelings and have those days,” Leticia said. “Everyone else being happy doesn’t mean you have to be.”
Enrique and Leticia lean on trusted friends and understanding family members to help with events or with surviving children.