Julie McGregor

I thought I would share a story regarding birthdays for our children gone too soon. It makes me realise that it’s hard for people to understand the ways of bereaved parents and how they individually do what they feel is right for them at the time, which possibly would and does, vary from year to year as our grief ‘evolves’.

My daughter in law has a close friend whose 5 year old daughter died unexpectedly 18 months ago. The first birthday of her daughter the mother had a birthday party, inviting her daughter’s classmates and did the whole party thing. This year she is planning to do the same and while the first year everyone went along with it, this year a lot of her friends are feeling very uncomfortable and are thinking she should ‘get over it’ and not persist with parties. We understand the mother is just doing what comforts her as she is still in the very early stages of her grief, while her friends are starting to think she’s ‘losing it’ and have even started avoiding her.

As bereaved parents we need to keep ‘educating’ the wider community about grieving parents and individual grief journeys and that there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to honour our children on these occasions. One parent may not ‘celebrate’ a birthday openly, and another one will do something with either family and/or friends. Regardless of what we choose to do, we who are on this journey know that it is ours alone to do with whatever we choose as part of the healing process.

group of young people celebrating a birthday

2 comments on “Birthdays”

  1. Malethia, Thank you so much or visiting our site and for sharing your journey. We are so sorry about the loss of your precious Amillia. We believe that honoring our loss and our love is a very important. Your sharing will help another mom. Hugs to you.

  2. I have a small party for my lost daughter each year on her birthday. In two days (which happens to be Thanksgiving this year) My daughter will turn two. We lost her at 6 weeks old. I only invite close family members and it is a very intimate time. We gather together usually with a batch of cupcakes that my nieces and nephew has prepared the night before. We all just have a nice quality family day. It is about celebrating each other while we are here on Earth. We all pray together as a family. Instead of happy birthday we sing “You are my sunshine” because that is what we sang to her the day she passed away. Afterwards the kids eat cupcakes. We all get a balloon and we write a message to Amillia (my daughter) on the balloon. We then release it into the sky towards Heaven for her. It is not a sad event, it is a celebration of her live. I keep my “party” to just my siblings, their children and Amillia’s grandparents. I think that this mother throwing a big party is just her way of reminding people that her child is still there each and everyday. She just wants to celebrate the time she did have with her child. Unless this mother’s friends have lost a child then they shouldn’t judge her. They shouldn’t think she is losing it. They should respect her. If they want to participate they should, but if they don’t then they should just allow the mom to do whatever she feels she needs to do for her daughter on that very special day.

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