I mentioned in my 10 ways to include your baby at Christmas time blog about attending Christmas services. We originally had hoped to attend two this year, one in Newcastle arranged by Tiny Lives which is a charity that looked after Silver in SCBU, and one in York arranged by The Lullaby Trust which have supported both me and Fabian with their befriending service. Unfortunately, I’ve just realised we will be unable to attend the York service which would have been much closer to home however we had arranged for my family to come over for my dads 60th birthday! Nonetheless we did have a lovely time in Newcastle and I just wanted to come on here and share it with you guys.
We arranged for Beau our toddler to spend the day with my parents, knowing that with his terrible two’s attitude it would be simply too stressful taking him with us and we would then miss half the service no doubt. We really wanted this day to be all about Silver, dedicated to her. After all, this should have been her first Christmas and we won’t get to do any of the things we would have wanted to do with her such as seeing Santa, opening presents and showing her all the lights on evening walks. So we embarked on our two hour journey to Newcastle with our little girl in our thoughts.
The drive itself I found reminded me very much of the day we picked up her little body and brought her home after her post mortem. It was difficult to remember such things and I found myself welling up every now and again despite feeling comforted knowing we were going to her home town. Newcastle was not a place we often ventured prior to her pregnancy and yet it now feels like a second home and feels that we are closer to our little girl when we are there. I know now this place will always have a special place in my heart and will be often visited. I think it’s an important place we will be bringing Beau and Leilani to as they grow up as we tell them tales of their precious sister.
We parked close to the church and arrived just in time for the service, my initial thought was an overwhelming sense of just how full the church was. We struggled to actually find a seat and it was a rather large hall completely pack. Rows and rows of grieving families all sat side by side. I could feel the lump in my throat as we sat down and prepared for the service to begin. There was a plethora of different families in the seats and pews, some just couples whilst others were larger families with children of all ages. There was also a very mixed sense of emotions, some families were able to smile and enjoy the service whilst others were very much overwhelmed and flooded with tears.
The service itself was lovely, a mixture of readings, songs, writing cards to add to a remembrance tree and lighting candles. Both me and Fabian had managed to get so far through before actually shedding a tear. I think we both had tried our best to hold it back but writing our little cards to hang on the tree was the downfall for us both. Fabian had gone up to hang the cards as I suffer social anxiety and he had heard another parent say through sobs how each year it gets worse. This was his trigger, knowing how much he’s struggled this year and the fear of the grief being so everlasting and painful. I simply found that seeing more and more people crying was the trigger for myself. Thankfully we were actually prepared and had brought tissues, both silently crying as we held hands.
My favourite part of the service was the lighting of candles. There was one candle lit for each month of the year at the centre of the church (I’m not religious and don’t really know what it’s called?) before volunteers then brought the flames to the front rows. The part I liked however was that from this point everyone lit each other’s candle, like a wave of light. It felt like the community spirit I have grown to love in the grieving community as we all support each other through our losses. It was especially beautiful when they dimmed the lights and you could see just how many beautiful candles were lit, representing our lost babies. A beautiful yet heart breaking sight.
The service finished soon after and there was then the opportunity to congregate in the community room behind the church for refreshments and to speak with others along with viewing the memory books. We arranged for Silver’s name to be wrote into one book on the day she was born and were given details so we could write a card to send in that would be added to another memory book also. It was also fantastic that the doctor whom looked after Silver the night she passed away and also came to our home to deliver the post mortem results came to say hello to us. He was very reassuring and wanted to know all about our current pregnancy and seemed very pleased to hear it was progressing very well with none of the similar ailments showing with Leilani.
All in all it was a lovely service and one we would happily attend again next year. Perhaps by next year Beau will be able to come with us too! It felt nice to do something Christmassy pertaining to Silver alone and making her as much included in our festive celebrations as Beau our lively living child. I know Christmas this year will be a profusion of emotions, both exciting as we watch Beau ravenously rip open his presents but also solemn as we think of how different the day should have been. We will however try celebrating with her close in our hearts, honouring her memory and sending warm wishes to heaven. I hope you too can have a peaceful Christmas, your angels close in your hearts with the knowledge they would wish only happiness upon you.
Until next time,