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Issue 16-116 — December 24, 2016
Starshine Galaxy Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help sustain the memories of children who have died. To this end, we support the Tributes to Lost Children Community Page on Facebook as a place to post, share, and comment on activities to honor our departed children and to celebrate their lives. This biweekly Tributes Digest presents highlights from this community page along with other items of interest. Please feel free to forward this on to others you know who might be interested, and direct any comments, questions, or concerns to starmaster@starshinegalaxy.org.

HIGHLIGHTS:
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This issue of Tributes Digest has a holiday theme, featuring various perspectives on managing through child loss during this especially challenging period of the year, beginning with a poem created in tribute to a lost daughter. The poem is called, “Santa Lost a Child,” and it was written in 2013 for use during the worldwide candle lighting activities.

SANTA LOST A CHILD
by Rod Mebane, Emma’s Dad
 
S
anta lost a child.
You can see it in his eyes.
There’s a spot of deep dark wisdom there.
Behind the krinkling brightly twinkling
hides the tender sadness of a long-lost love.
 
Santa lost his only child.
You can see it in his hands.
They are soft and sure when he holds a young first born.
They are folded firmly with respect when he counsels an only
on what the future may bring.
 
Santa lost a daughter.
You can see it in how he is with girls.
He beams bright with glee as he beholds the princess in each,
the pretty one who will live long ... and healthy ... and happily ever after.
May theirs be the dreams that come true.
 
It was well before the days of yore
when Santa was just a mortal man,
when his soulmate Jess could bear but a single child,
when that child blossomed into a practically perfect little girl,
when that cherished little girl had just turned nine.
That’s when the illness took its wretched hold
and reduced her to a wisp.
And, on a cold gray day, she blew away in the wind.
 
Santa lost a child, his only child,
his darling daughter, the love of his life.
Now you know why Santa and his wife forsook the mortal world.
And now you know why Santa loves every child
as if each were his very own.
NAVIGATING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS –
At Christmas, Remembering the Child Who Is Missing (December 13) – The Christmas season is meant to be a time of joy, coming together, and taking stock in preparation for a new year. But for families grieving the loss of a child, the holidays can be heavy, filled with heartache and longing for the son or daughter who’s no longer there. Children who are no longer in their parents’ arms are still very much in their hearts and on their minds, and perhaps that’s why this time of year somehow feels just right for remembering these children in special — and hopefully healing — ways. If you’ve lost a child or know someone who has, here are Robyna May’s ideas on specific things you can do to remember someone at Christmas.
 
PLANT SEEDS OF CHANGE –
Enduring the Holidays After Losing a Child (December 19) – A car accident took the life of Chris Mulligan’s 21-year-old son, Zac, in 2000. Although Chris had 25 years of social work and mental health experience, nothing prepared her for the devastation she felt following the loss of her son. Chris has learned to live a “new normal” over the past 16 years, and that new normal includes navigating the holidays in a whole new way. A few years ago, in a piece she wrote for Open to Hope, Chris shared her tips for making it through the holidays after the death of a child. You’ll find her useful ideas here:
LOOK FOR SIGNS –
Six Steps to Survive the Holiday Season After Loss (December 16) – Donna Mebane’s piece ‘Six Steps to Survive the Holiday Season After Loss’ first appeared on the Huffington Post two years ago, just before Christmas. Donna lost her 19-year-old daughter, Emma, when she passed away in her sleep in 2011. “Find ways to include the ones you have lost,” Donna writes. “Last Christmas, I bought presents for Emma’s dad and siblings that were inspired by her — we see her in the shape of a star and a cardinal and, once you start to look, you see them everywhere. I wrote little notes in her voice. They were the hit of the holidays and all are proudly displayed in special places. I can’t wait to look for other Emma gifts this year. Spend part of the holidays looking for signs. You’ll see them. This year on Thanksgiving morning, I looked out the kitchen window and there were literally dozens of cardinals all over the garden and in nearly every branch of the tree we planted the first year in Emma’s honor. We laughed — yes, laughed — and speculated that Emma must have taught all of her friends to become cardinals too just so they could party at the Mebane house.”
 
CHASING DRAGONFLIES AT CHRISTMAS –
I Refuse to Give Up on Christmas Even Though I’m Grieving (December 20) – Abigail Owen was at home with her family when she suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage on February 6, 2013. Four days later, the 12-year-old passed away. “Abi was such a wonderful young person,” writes Kelly Owen, Abi’s mom. “[She was] fit, healthy, intelligent [and had] an infectious enthusiasm for life.” Last December, Kelly wrote an article on her blog, Chasing Dragonflies, in anticipation of the family’s third Christmas without Abi. “Each year has been different for me,” Kelly writes. “The first [was] shock, the second depression, this year hope; and next year will be different too.”
 
WITH AN ANGEL IN HEAVEN –
Five Ways to Honor the Child Your Friend Lost This Christmas (December 21) – “The holidays are so hard for [a mother] who has lost a child, whether in pregnancy, infancy, or any other stage of life,” writes bereaved mom Kristi Bothur. “She remembers what Christmas was like in previous years, even as a child. She imagines what Christmas would have been like this year. She thinks about whose faces would have been in the Christmas family picture. She contemplates what presents she would have bought or how she might have announced her pregnancy in her Christmas card this year.” If you’re looking for a meaningful way to remember someone else’s child at Christmastime, we hope these ideas are helpful.
FROM ‘STILL STANDING’ –
Remembering is What Matters — At Christmas, and Beyond (December 23) – The year-end holidays are filled with a kind of nostalgia that’s equal parts gratitude for what is, and longing for what was. For parents grieving the loss of a child, Christmas lights shine with a new meaning most people will never come to know. It’s not uncommon to hear bereaved parents say that they now belong to a club which they never would have willingly joined. It’s also not uncommon to hear bereaved parents talk about the realization that how their child died doesn’t, in the end, really matter — all that truly matters is that they’re gone. And then, after that fact has set in, all that begins to matter is that this child is remembered. Here are a few other ways you can honor the life of a child heading into the New Year.
DO YOU HAVE TRIBUTE INFORMATION TO SHARE?
Post it here:
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The complete netbook version of Tributes to Lost Children – a snapshot of how 147 families have honored their children who have passed away – is publicly available for FREE. Click on the cover image above to navigate to this powerful, heart-warming compilation of tribute stories.
Based on results of the Tributes Survey, three general motivations anchor bereaved families in their tribute activities. See the organizing Tributes Framework that serves as the backbone of the new book Tributes to Lost Children.
Copyright © 2016 Starshine Galaxy Foundation, All rights reserved.


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