Remember Him: The Greatest Gift of All

December 12, 2017
photo by Kelly Coté

Holidays are filled with gifts, joy, laughter, celebration, and family.  Families across the world prepare to give their children, friends, and family the greatest gift they can find.   Children write wish lists to Santa Claus.  Parents rush through the toy isles and hunt for the best deals online.  Everyone prepares to make this holiday the best yet.

Losing a child changes this forever.  The hustle and bustle bring a sadness, an empty void, an empty chair, an empty stocking.

This time of year is a constant reminder that Parker will never unwrap a present, write a Christmas wish list, or enjoy a stocking stuffed full of his favorite things.  I will never get to watch his face light up while he opens his presents in awe.   He will never sit on Santa’s lap or watch classic Christmas movies.

Frantic efforts to include him replace the hunt for the perfect gift.  As his mother, I find ways to include him.  He is my son and I love him, so I do this.  No matter how hard it is and even if I’m the only one.

Every year, I place a tiny Christmas tree beside his urn on the mantle.  I set a little Santa hat atop the small box that holds the remains of his tiny body.  I put his picture in a holiday frame.  We light a candle in his honor.  I spend hours searching for the perfect ornament to give our family in his honor.  Sometimes it’s an angel.  Other times I simply include him on a family ornament.  This means a lot to me because I know that when it’s hung on the tree, he’s remembered, if only for a moment.  This brings me peace.

I do this all while sadly preparing for the reality that he will most likely be forgotten.  Nobody will mention his name.  Family members will shower his siblings with gifts.  He will get nothing.

I know he is not completely forgotten, but he is definitely left out.  Left out in these celebrations and all the day-to-day activities throughout the year.  I guess in a way, this means he is forgotten.  While I know this is not the intention, it is the reality, and honestly, it is my greatest fear.

I do not mind the effort it takes to include him in the holidays.  It brings me a sense of joy and comfort.  At the same time, it hurts that I am the only one that does it.

Remembering Parker is the greatest gift I could receive.

Say his name, donate a toy in his honor, light a candle in his memory, give me something to remember him by.  Let me know that I am not the only one who remembers him, for I fear that if I stop there will nothing to remember him by.

  • Kelly Cote

    Kelly is owner and therapist at Evolve Counseling, LLC and proud mother to three children, including her son, Parker who was stillborn at 24 weeks gestation. At Evolve Counseling, LLC she provides counseling services to individuals and families healing after infant and pregnancy loss.

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