Setting expectations for the holidays after the death of a child

The first Christmas after Charles died by suicide, I expected it to be hard. All those firsts are hard–first birthday, mother’s day, father’s day etc. Hell, Arbor Day was hard.

For the second Christmas after Charles’ suicide, I was sure the holidays would be better. After all, the first one happened and I survived. How bad could this second one be?

December 1, 2017, two and a half years after my son’s suicide, slapped me hard and shut me down. My head was a mixing bowl with too many ingredients and it was hard to complete anything with more than two steps. It was unexpected and I was unprepared so for it. I know how to try to do things ahead of time, have few expectations, and ask my friends for help when needed.

For those of you who have other children and you feel you have to bring the holiday celebration home despite your grief, please do ask for help. Don’t do this alone. That’s what your friends and family are for.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

6 thoughts on “Setting expectations for the holidays after the death of a child”

  1. I hope this year is better for you Anne. I’m glad your family is coming.

    I’m really scared about the Holidays too. Normally Black Friday is my favorite day of the year! The shops, the people, the amazing sales. This year? No interest yet. it does take time.

    Hugs Anne,
    Call me if you want to!

  2. A-M – I hope your third December is easier than the last two. I have no doubt that it will be. They always stink, but the first few are just misery.

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