Sunday, November 23, 2008

Show & Tell: 'Tis the season...

Christmas has always been a special time for my family. But it's also been the busiest time of year for us at work, which has added a lot of stress to the holiday preparations. After our daughter was stillborn in August 1998 -- followed by the death of my grandfather later that fall -- I found myself re-evaluating just what was absolutely essential to my definition of Christmas, & what could go by the wayside -- in other words, where I most wanted to spend my limited energy.

I had no energy for Christmas baking -- most of the stuff I made was stuff my mother made & I could eat at her house anyway -- and no matter how much I gave away, I always seemed to have a ton left in my freezer to nibble on -- so I don't think I have baked since then. Likewise, I've had very little use for holiday parties -- particularly since the Worst. Christmas. Party. Ever. in 1998. So I don't care whether I attend any of those now.

But we have always put up a Christmas tree -- which, over the years, has become a Katie tree. And I have always sent out Christmas cards & a Christmas letter. When I lived at home with my parents, I always did my mother's cards (I can count the number of years she's sent out cards herself since I left home on the fingers of one hand, lol). Having moved around a lot, & having a large extended family, my card list is more than 100 names long.

When Katie was stillborn, I used our annual Christmas letter to tell everyone about it (although most of them had already heard through other channels). Every year since then, I've managed to work in a reference to her, albeit usually in connection with the volunteer work we do for our pregnancy loss support group.

The cards themselves are also usually a tribute to Katie, although not everyone would realize that. Most years, I've managed to find cards with a Classic Pooh theme (Katie's nursery was to have had Classic Pooh decor). Other years, when I haven't been able to find Classic Pooh, I've used angels.

I usually know "the card" when I see it, and even if I continue to look, I will usually return to the one I initially felt in my gut was the right one. That was the case with this year's card (below). No Classic Pooh was to be had, but I knew in my heart that this card -- a little girl, looking at Santa inside of a snowglobe -- was the right one for this year. The inside message reads: "Tis the season of magic. Merry Christmas." It's by Papyrus and I bought mine at Chapters/Indigo here in Canada.

Now, to set aside a few evenings to get them done...!

For more Show & Tell, visit here.


  1. Beautiful card, Loribeth. And it's perfect for what you've described.

  2. What a lovely card to honor your daughter. I'm sure she is an angel looking over you.

  3. Beautiful card. How did you sign them? Did you ever include a reference to your "angel" or what not? I feel like I should sign Hannah's name in some way when I send out my cards but I am sure many will interpret it as a little creepy. I know, why do I care what people think?

  4. CLC, I've never signed Katie's name to our cards. Just didn't feel comfortable doing so -- although I know parents who have. If that's what you want to do, I say go for it!

    I feel like the cards themselves are sort of a symbol of Katie, even if most people won't "get" it. (Plus, as I said, I do mention her in the letter.) I know some people who put an angel stamp below their signatures, or on the envelope.

    One family I "met" online took a stuffed toy that was meant for their lost baby & every year, it's included in the family Christmas photo.

    Another friend used the first letters of her name, her husband's & her two kids' names to make up her lost daughter's name (she didn't make up the name -- it is an actual name -- it just happens to contain all the right letters!). Now, whenever she signs cards, she always lists their names one under the other in the order that will spell out their baby daughter's first name, if you run down the row. Not everyone would realize that, but her deadbabymama friends do. Pretty cool, huh??

  5. Wow, Loribeth, I actually teared up when I opened the link to the card. So beautiful.

    I had a 2am revelation a few nights ago about writing a Christmas letter this year. I passed it off as one of those middle-of-the-night ideas that's probably best left on the shelf. You've inspired me to think about it some more.

    Thanks for your comments at my place, btw. Much appreciated.

  6. Beautiful, Loribeth, thanks so much for sharing.
    I will be thinking of Katie too when we put up our Solstice tree... ((hugs))

  7. What a beautiful card. You always pay tribute to Katie in the most beautiful, inspiring ways.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  8. gorgeous card send me your mailing address so we can swap cards in real life this year ...

  9. What a beautiful card. And what a wonderful way to remember your little angel....thanks for sharing.

  10. She's beautiful, Loribeth. The girl on the card.

    I seem to be "into" Christmas this year much more than last. I have come to the conclusion that the only way I can include Callum in on these things is by adding him in little ways: like the little dove I bought to sit on our mantle this year (C's name means dove) and the little handpainted singing boy ornament I bought to hang on the tree, and an angelic woman figuring holding a tiny little butterfly meant to represent...well, who else. Not many would know that I bought these things for my son, that although you can't see him, my baby is all around us. We do what we need to do, don't we? We do what we need to do.

    I love what you've done to honour sweet Katie. I think it's beautiful.