What Grieving Parents Feel at Christmas

There was a quiet sadness that filled the room. Each mother there shared a special memory of her child. It was a comfortable place to be because it was all right to cry.

There was a quiet sadness that filled the room. Each mother there shared a special memory of her child. It was a comfortable place to be because it was all right to cry. My friend had invited me to join her in a chapel with a group of mothers. They gathered each Christmas to share memories of their children who...My friend had invited me to join her in a chapel with a group of mothers. They gathered each Christmas to share memories of their children who had passed away.

Warm, inviting hands reached out for mine as I entered the group. I listened as they shared stories of their children. It had been a long time for some since they had held the warm hands of their children, but the happy memories they had to share were as clear as if they experienced them yesterday.

I am always amazed by the power of the bond between bereaved parents. Strangers become kindreds in mere seconds? a look, a glance, a knowing of the heart connects us, even if they’ve never met before.

Getting together with other mothers was a way of honoring their children during the holidays.

I feel sadness during this time,” my friend Susie said. “But it is not a sadness without hope because as a Christian, I know I will see him again.” Her son, Don Jr., died ten years earlier, and she said sharing her memories of him is a way of including him in the holidays.

It is difficult to explain to someone how you feel after losing a child.  Everything changes. It is the worst experience a parent can endure. There are no words to describe the pain.

Here in this place, mothers could talk about anything they wanted. Some of the mothers spoke about feelings of guilt they experienced this time of the year.

I understood because, for years after our two-year-old daughter, Carol, died, I felt guilty that my other children were happy and still growing, and sometimes I felt guilty because I was thinking of her instead of being happy for what I had.

Like other grieving parents, we have felt everything our child missed each time it was supposed to happen–like the first day of school, holidays, graduation.  Sometimes it is just trying to think of what they would be like at certain ages.

Sharing our feelings was like being in a safe place for just a moment with other parents who understood. We didn’t need a lot of words, but it felt good to say our children’s names.

While we were talking, a nurse walked into the chapel for personal prayer time. When she looked our way, we told her why we were there, and she joined us even though she had not lost a child.

A few minutes later, another woman walked in and knelt across the aisle from us. She was crying, and we thought she might be grieving too. We tried to speak to her when she stood up, but she didn’t speak English. Fortunately, the nurse, who had joined us earlier, could translate and tell her why we were gathered there.

She seemed to understand. She shared the story of how her son had been in an accident and laid in a coma for the last few weeks. She began to cry again, and we thought he must have died.

However, after a few minutes, smiling through her tears she said, “But praise God he has come out of the coma and is going to be alright!” She had come into the chapel to give thanks.

It was good news, and each of us hugged this woman who had been a stranger only moments before.

Suddenly the sadness in the room was bearable. We were celebrating the life of a boy we did not know.

Later, when I reflected on the meeting, I felt it was all meant to be that way because we needed to see beyond our grief that day, and maybe she needed to see how blessed she was.

The holidays have a way of illuminating the difficult things in our lives. It could be the loneliness of missing a loved one or the lack of funds to buy presents or enough food for their children. These feelings can become unbearable when we feel alone.

Mary gave birth to the Christ child in a stable. Not having a clean place to be born was sad, but his birth was joyous.

His life gave hope to all who came in contact with him. When he died, his mother felt the same sadness that every parent feels when their child dies, but it was not sadness without hope because she knew she would see him again.


Author's Image
Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

[Read full bio]