For most families Christmas is a time of joy and celebration; a time of excitement and expectation, reunion and love. But for those families who have lost a child it’s often a different story. Instead of happiness and anticipation, Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year. A bleak period that has to be endured and got through. While other parents are out shopping for their children, choosing gifts, writing to Santa, bereaved families are coping with their longing for the child they have lost, wondering what she would have put on her Christmas list or how often he would have changed his mind before Santa finally showed up on Christmas Morning.
For the past number of years members of Feileacain have individually chosen Christmas gifts for their children. For a while we lost ourselves in the world of ‘what if’. What if she hadn’t been stillborn? What if he hadn’t died before he could open his eyes? How old would they be now? What would they have wanted for Christmas? We chose gifts for our children and after keeping them under our Christmas trees for a little while, donated them to a children’s charity in our babies’ name.
We will go shopping again this Christmas, choosing different toys for our children suitable for the age they would have been. But this year we are expanding the project and are launching our Toy Box Gift Appeal. We will be joined by other bereaved families; parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, godparents and friends in honouring a child through the donation of a toy in their name to Barnardos.
If you would like to take part in this project you can bring your toy to our Christmas Remembrance Services (date’s to be confirmed). After the Service, a Feileacain volunteer will take the toys to be given as Christmas presents to children in need.