Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pensive for Christmas cards

I have been busily attacking a long list and scribbling away at my Christmas cards this week. The numbers of cards dwindle a little each year as I try to be more sensible, economical and green and therefore send e-Cards and emails - but I know I love to receive cards so I do have a fondness for these little posted messages in December, despite the commerciality of it, the cost of postage and the sheer waste of paper!

But I am truly stuck on one particular card this year and seek some empathetic suggestions.

Some friends of ours in the UK lost their ten year old son last January so this will be their first Christmas without him, hotly followed by the anniversary of his death. I am literally lost for words (I know). I want to send something, write something, make contact again. My heart breaks for them when I think (frequently) how their lives have changed.

What to say? I have contemplated a letter as opposed to a card - I have thought about a special type of card - thinking that something smothered in Santa's or smiling reindeer would be (even more ) inappropriate. It's the elephant in the room. Their Christmas will be incredibly difficult - I don't think they will choose to ignore it as they have another child - and the mother does have her faith which has taken an almighty pounding this year, so I'm not sure Angels-on-High would say the right thing either.

They were quite good friends when we lived there - several BBQ's and school socials type of thing - but not heart-to-heart buddies. I have written twice since I heard what happened.

I do not know anyone else who has lost a child - somehow parents and partners are in a different category of grief, I'm not sure why really. I feel it totally inappropriate to even mention how we are getting on.

Thoughts gratefully appreciated fellow bloggers. I thank you.


  1. Difficult one, Ann.

    I'm guessing you've pretty much expressed how you feel in the above. I see nothing wrong in expressing some version of above to your friends. It's honest, heartfelt and reflects genuine concern, imo.

  2. Life goes on, despite the pain of loss.

    To this end, I would think that your friends would be appreciative of any contact and the more normal things can be the better. Somehow they have to get on with life, for their other child and for themselves too.

    I also think that you might want to find as bland a Christmas card as poss and then to write a note in it wishing them Merry Christmas, noting that this is the first Christmas without xxx and that they are in your thoughts.

    It has happened to them, no point in avoiding it.

    Of course, I have no experience of this situation, how people feel and react having lost a child must vary widely, so this is simply my thoughts on the question.

  3. Thank you Rob - yes, I think in their situation I would appreciate some contact and thoughts, regardless. Maybe I am trying to tread too carefully, if such a thing is possible? Their "normal" has changed irrevocably but something else replaces it in time.

    marnie - thank you - yep, just let the heart lead the pen and hope for the best ....

  4. A "Thinking of you - often" hand-written, heart felt message would be appropriate. I had some friends lose a son. We talk about him often and I have written down pleasant memories of him and given them to the parents. We laugh and cry together.


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