Life After Loss

The Schmitz Family and Other Holiday Phenomena

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, and Christmas has come and gone.  It was actually not as bad as I thought it would be.  It seems the anticipation of how bad it was going to be might have surpassed how bad it actually was.  At least I didn’t get myself as worked up about Christmas as I did about Thanksgiving.  That’s not saying it didn’t suck, knowing that we should be celebrating in a totally different way with an adorable little man.  I’ve tried consciously to fixate less on the “shoulds” and instead focus on our reality.  That helped me get through those couple tough days.

One other thing that goes along with the holidays are Christmas cards.  We didn’t send one this year, but I have some good ideas for how we can include Brady in little ways in our cards in the future.  I just didn’t have it figured out in time to send some out this year.  I love getting Christmas cards.  I like getting an annual update, both in pictures and words, from people we might not get to see all the time (and the ones we see all the time too.  My love for Christmas cards doesn’t discriminate).

One thing I noticed this year is that most of the cards we received were addressed to “The Schmitz Family”.  In previous years, cards were always addressed to “Jeff and Becca Schmitz”.  I don’t know if it’s a conscious decision or not, but it feels like people consider us a family now, and that’s because of Brady.  We also received a few cards addressed to “Jeff, Becca, and Brady” which is also super neat.  Any loss parent will tell you they don’t get to see or hear their child’s name nearly as much as they’d like to, so I treasure any time I get to see Brady’s name.

Being addressed as a family is comforting to me, but there’s another holiday phenomena I noticed this year that is not as pleasant.  You know how your friends always send you generic texts on Thanksgiving and Christmas that just say “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Merry Christmas” and have an emoji of a turkey or a Christmas tree?  Yeah, that doesn’t happen for me anymore.  Part of me thinks, “hey, you’re almost 30, maybe it’s just the natural time that those things stop”, but the other part of me thinks that people are avoiding sending those texts my way, knowing that I might not be having a very happy or merry time.  I only got one on Thanksgiving and one on Christmas.  (You all probably know who you are, so thank you, I liked getting those texts!)

As a loss parent, I know I am ultra-sensitive to things like this.  I’ve become hyper-aware of the looks and the hushed conversations that I know I am the subject of.  When something changes, my mind goes into overdrive trying to figure out the reasons why that change happened.  While I know I am different, I don’t want to be treated like I’m different.  I’m still the same person, just with a lot more life experience.

I know I have some loss mamas that read this blog, so, have you noticed the “family” thing or the lack of holiday texts since your child passed?  And for my non-loss mama readers, am I making a mountain out of mole hill with the holiday text thing?  (Don’t feel shy about calling me out if I am!  I am genuinely curious.)

4 thoughts on “The Schmitz Family and Other Holiday Phenomena

  1. We lost our first born in April. He just came too early due to pregnancy complications (cervical insufficiency with a failed cerclage).

    I’ve always liked holding our friends’ kids, but now I feel self-conscious about it. I feel like I get pitying looks. I’m probably the only one thinking this, but it still makes me feel bad.

    1. Karen, you’re definitely not the only one feeling that way. The pitying looks are awful. It really does make you feel self-conscious. You should be able to hold babies without people making sad eyes at you. I’m sorry for the loss of your sweet baby.

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