The first Thanksgiving after we lost our baby didn’t feel right. While friends on social media were sharing what they felt thankful for, I just felt sad. How could our family sit at dinner on Thanksgiving as if nothing had happened? As if someone weren’t painfully missing? As if one seat wouldn’t remain empty this holiday, and at every holiday gathering? While nothing could ever take away the ache of loss, I knew I had to do something special to honor our baby, especially during the holidays. Or else I’d never be able to even sit down at the table without completely falling apart.
We’d decided purple was our little girl’s favorite color, although she was far too small to ever tell us this; my oldest daughter had dreamed her baby sister loved it, and I chose to believe she really had. So, a week before turkey day, I ordered purple flower corsages for myself and my three daughters, as well as a matching boutonniere for my husband. Picking up the beautiful floral pieces the night before Thanksgiving was a bittersweet moment.
Just before dinner the next night, I took the corsages and the boutonniere out of the refrigerator and gently placed them on each member of our family. There were tears, and smiles too, as a warmth came over us all. Somehow, wearing the purple flowers arranged just for her, made us feel like our baby was with us in some small way. Throughout the meal, I kept glancing down at my corsage. So many different emotions coursed through my body; sorrow, love, gratefulness, emptiness.
The experience of wearing the flowers for our baby was so memorable, we’ve decided to make it a tradition at Thanksgiving. Now I keep the dried flowers in my closet so I can look at them often.
We’ve found other ways to honor our sweet baby at Christmas. For example, she has her own ornaments that we hang on the tree. But it’s really talking about her and how much we wish she was with us, or sharing when one of us feels her presence, that honors her the most. You see, since we lost a member of our family, I’ve learned that the small things matter just as much as the big gestures. I love wearing purple flowers in remembrance of our angel, and placing special ornaments on the Christmas tree, yet just keeping her in our hearts at the holidays and always is probably the most important thing we can do to show our love for her, and help lessen the pain of having had to say goodbye.
Image Source: Melissa Willets