“God gave us memories so we would have roses in December.” ~James M. Barrie

By late 1998, I was preparing for my first holiday season without my precious daughter, Alexandria, who had died January 29, 1998 as a newborn. I had a 33-month-old son, Bryce.  It had been almost a year since my daughter died and I was halfway into the subsequent pregnancy with my third child, another girl.  Surely I was through the worst of the grief and my mind and heart would observe the expectation I had set for myself that I was beyond the heartache.

I could not have been more wrong.  By the grace of God, I made it through that first Christmas without my daughter.  The day was miserable, though, a train-wreck of sorts, when my emotions came out sideways.

That first Christmas and my assumptions surrounding it taught me important lessons about myself and my life after Alexandria:  My life was not going to return to the normal I knew, I needed to be more gentle with myself, and, most importantly, I needed to find a path in which I could honor my spiritual relationship with my daughter and find my own path with my grief.  I vowed that the upcoming birthday, anniversary, and year of holidays were going to be different.

The second holiday season after Alexandria was born and died rolled around all too quickly.  It was still painful but, amidst the thorns, there were roses this time.  I took the time to plan ahead and remember my daughter even in light of all the craziness of the season.

Bryce was almost four and Savannah, my rainbow baby, was seven months old.  It was a hectic time, to be sure. My stepmother gave me a small tabletop Christmas tree.  I found special angel lights to adorn it. By then, I had collected a number of angel ornaments that were gifts from others and tokens I had purchased myself in memory of Alexandria.

I carefully decorated the tree.  With each angel I placed on the tree, I remembered something special about my experience with my daughter, treasured moments when I was able to hold her, give her a bath, see her smile.  I still missed her terribly, but was able to find some peace in my loving ritual.

This is the twelfth December without my precious Alexandria.  I will faithfully decorate the baby tree while quietly longing for her and remembering through tears the special time I carried her safely inside me and the memories from the week we had together.

I will have roses in December.

Amy Daly 2010

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Amy Daly

Amy Daly, MSW, LCSW, CT is the married mother of three children. After experiencing the death of her second child, a newborn daughter, Alexandria, in January of '98, she knew her purpose was to help other bereaved parents. She has a BA in Psychology, 1993, from Indiana University and and Master's in Social Work from Indiana University, 2006

. She earned her Certification in Thanatology through ADEC in 2008. Daly works part-time at St. Vincent Carmel Hospital in Carmel, Indiana, as a medical social worker, where she facilitates a perinatal bereavement support group. She also works at St. Vincent Hospice in Indianapolis where she facilitates support groups for widows and widowers, as well as facilitating general grief support groups that are not loss-specific.

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