Symbols of Hope: Remembering Loved Ones at Christmas time

“Here, I made you something,” my husband handed me an object one night before dinner.

It was a few weeks after my miscarriage.

“Do you know what it is?” He asked eagerly.

I smiled, confused but pleased by his gift. My husband is not typically crafty person. Nor a gift-giving person.

“Uh…key chain?”

“Well, yes.” He rolled his eyes. “But look at this pattern. Do you recognize it?”

I shook my head.

I watched, bemused, as my husband dashed through the house and found a plastic pirate doll.

“Look!” he pointed. “It’s Izzy! See the pattern on her bandana?”

Source

And then I did see and…Oh. 

 I made the connection and my eyes filled with tears.

You see, our 7 year old son named the baby we lost, Izzy, after the pirate from one of his favorite Disney shows. Before the miscarriage, I rolled my eyes at the name, chuckling and shaking my head, thinking, “I would never name my baby Izzy.”

But that was the only name the baby got.

I clutched the keychain in one hand and gripped my husband’s hands with the other…callused hand with strong, square fingers, hands that held me when I wept for the loss of our child, hands that wove a pink and white key chain.

“I made this for you so that you can always have Izzy with you.”

My husband, like many men, didn’t have many words when we went through this time of grief. He felt and grieved in his own way, a way that was different from my way.

But he made a key chain for me, in memory of our child.

It was a symbol of loss, of acknowledgment, of remembering.

Christmas is usually a time of hope and happiness for most families. But it can also be a time of grief as we remember loved ones who are no longer with us.

We bought an ornament for our tree this year–a plastic pirate doll: Izzy.

I was hesitant at first.

“It’s really expensive.” I told my husband as my mouse hovered over the BUY icon.

“It’s doesn’t matter.” He told me. “Get it.”

So I did. And Izzy came in the mail in a little white box and we hung her on our tree.

It’s been almost a year since I found out I was pregnant: it was December 14. And instead of cradling a 4 month old baby (boy? girl?), I am hanging an ornament on our tree.

It is sobering….but, by the grace of God, not sad.

And I do not use that phrase lightly. His grace has carried me, buffered me, pushed me, grown me…in agonizing ways in the past year.

This has been one of the hardest years of my life, but it has been one of soul-wrenching growth as well, growth that has been fostered by faith and has led to hope.

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our heart” (Romans 5:3-5).

I’ve carried my key chain this year, just as I’ve carried Izzy in my heart.
We put an ornament on our tree, not as a symbol of loss, but as a symbol of Hope.

Because His hope has not disappointed us.  His love will continue to carry us through every season.

How do you remember your departed loved ones at Christmas?
How do you seek hope, even in time of intense grief?

You can read more about our miscarriage journey here: 

 

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