The lead up to Christian’s first birthday was a horribly draining experience. For the 6 weeks leading up to it I felt anxiety and deep sadness. I was taken back to the first raw stages of grief. I kept thinking this the feeling of dread would always be there every year. When his birthday finally came around it was beautiful. Of course it was still filled with sadness but I placed all of my energy into making it as beautiful as I possibly could. We were blessed enough to have all of our family and friends remember Christian with us. I guess it was a gift to have him born on Australia Day. Everyone remembers him and it’s a blessing that I’ve never taken for granted. After Christmas in the lead up to his second birthday I began to feel anxiety again. I began to dread his birthday. This was the last thing I ever wanted and so I prayed on it. After a few days I kept hearing. “Place your energy into loving him”. Showing your dead son that you love him is so different to showing your live children how loved they are. But nevertheless I started thinking of ways that I could show my son how loved and remembered he is. I decided to create a garden for him. I spent 3 weeks out in the sunshine, digging my hands in the earth and getting oh so dirty. I felt a strong connection to him throughout the entire time. By creating this garden for him I shifted and dispelled the negative energy that was looming over me. On his birthday to complete the garden we hung a special Humming Bird wind chime from the cherry blossom tree. Now when I hear it chime I think of the breeze carrying his beautiful spirit to us all.
I have many things on my to do list each day. Some things that are always high on my list in between actual work are more like rituals. I make a point of really noticing all the beautiful things in this life. They are the simplest of things, the fresh morning air, the smile of a stranger, the salt water that rushes over my feet at the beach each night, the little strawberry jam jars that my daughter’s fill with flowers and place on my windowsill. Before I go to sleep I spend some time to be silent outside and underneath the night’s sky. I breathe in all the wonders of nature and I let go of any anxiety I am feeling. Each morning I read a positive affirmation. This is a ritual that I feel is so important in my daily life. It sets my energy high for the day ahead of me and inspires to me to extend kindness to others wherever possible. My ritual every year in the lead up to Christian’s birthday is setting myself a project to honour him. Something that cannot be completed in a day. Something that will take me some time. This year I am making a memory branch to hang in my studio. My studio is one of the loveliest rooms in our home. It’s at the front of the house and it has a big window that filters through the morning sun light. I spend much of my day in there with my girls. When Christian died we received so much love. People gave us beautiful gifts that still hold so much meaning for me. I kept everything. Even the ribbons that wrapped his gifts. I have so many little reminders that can be hung up but I have kept them hidden away in a memory box. So I have decided to bring them all out and hang them all together in the same space in my studio.
There crystal sun catchers and pieces of mirror mosaic. I have collected seashells from some very special beaches. When I was in Melbourne last I bought piece of Celestite. It had traveled all the way from Mexico. I loved it’s properties so much as they include promoting deep peace, love, truth and gentleness. It also promotes, clarity, balance and helps with creativity and communication. So I am going to include this with a piece of clear quartz as well. I am going to bring out the necklace that I wore when I gave birth to him I will warp it around the branch. The branch that I chose to hang these precious reminders from is a beautiful piece of old driftwood that I found at his beach. I imagine that this memory branch that I am creating for my studio will change over time. I will add things and change it around. It will evolve and grow with me. I have started creating it and I already feel a sense of deep peace. Here is how it is becoming…
I believe that setting yourself a project to pour all your love and energy into in the lead up to the anniversary of your baby/child’s death is a wonderful way to help you get through that time. Channeling that energy into something beautiful that honours you child is a really healing experience. There are so many different things that you could choose to do. You may want to create a memory board or tree, maybe it is a garden or a prayer flag.
What do you do to get through the lead up to your child’s significant date? What is your ritual? Share your stories and thoughts. You might spark a light in someone else’s heart and help them to get through such a time with more peace and even some hope.