I have taken several days to think over what my heart wants to say about loss at Christmas. And I have chosen to share this on the very day my twin girls were born prematurely just over 30 years ago. What I share is based on the experience and memory of losing them, one 11 days after birth and the other 5 years later at Christmas. Those who are not as closely affected by the loss can be sensitive and caring towards those who have been devastated. If you know someone who is grieving this Christmas, here is how you can help.
First, if the bereaved prefer to have a quiet Christmas apart from the usual family gathering, do not pressure them to participate. Let them decide what they can handle and know that their decision is not a rejection. Quite the opposite, their decision is based on the great love that they feel for the family and the wonderful memories you have made together in Christmases past. The bereaved have realized that, for them, this Christmas and those to come will be painfully incomplete without the one they lost. This feeling of emptiness and incompleteness lessens in time, and as the bereaved find the strength to go on and find their new path in life, they will once again join in Christmas festivities. However, they may never again feel the same gleeful, light-hearted happiness they once had. In its place, they will find a quiet joy that comes from faith in God and the compassionate care of loved ones. The best thing you can do is to invite them to join you as you celebrate Christmas and to respect their decision about how much to participate. Rushing them or pressuring them will not help them to heal faster, but will only increase their pain.