For most families Christmas is a time of joy and celebration; a time of excitement and expectation, reunion and love. But for those families who have lost a child it’s often a different story. Instead of happiness and anticipation. Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year, a bleak period that has to be endured and got through. While other parents are out shopping for their children, choosing gifts, writing to Santa, bereaved families are coping with their longing for the child they have lost, wondering what she would have put on her Christmas list or how often he would have changed his mind before Santa finally showed up on Christmas Morning.
Since our inception, members of Feileacain have individually chosen Christmas gifts for their children. For a while we lost ourselves in the world of ‘what if’. What if she hadn’t been stillborn? What if he hadn’t died before he could open his eyes? How old would they be now? What would they have wanted for Christmas? We chose gifts for our children and after keeping them under our Christmas trees for a little while donated them to a children’s charity in our babies’ names.
We will go shopping again this Christmas, choosing different toys for our children suitable for the age they would have been. But this year we are expanding the project and are re-launching our Toy Box Gift Appeal. We will be joined by other bereaved families; parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, godparents and friends in honouring a child through the donation of a toy in their name to children’s charities.
‘The Toy Box Project has been a source of comfort not only to bereaved parents, but also to bereaved grandparents, Godparents, uncles, aunts, siblings and other family members and friends. We have expanded the project over the years and many children’s charities are grateful for the generosity of our families in providing Christmas gifts for children who otherwise may not receive one.
If you would like to honour your baby at Christmas by supporting another child you may do so in a number of ways. Either bring your gift to one of our Christmas Services or Wreath Making/Christmas Workshops (information for these will be on our facebook page and website) or by leaving your gift at one of our collection points listed below.