For grieving people, Christmastime is undoubtedly, NOT 'the most wonderful time of the year' that is sung about in the classic song. I would say that for grieving parents, this is especially true. Christmas is such a time of joy for children and no matter if you lost your child on the day that you gave birth to him or her or decades later, the pain is still a little sharper on Christmas. Grieving parents are reminded both of Christmases past and also of the Christmases that will never be.
I started thinking about what to do for the show this Christmas a few months ago. I thought about just taking a couple of weeks off, but the more I considered that, the more that it felt wrong. I know that people look forward to listening to these stories every week. I know that it gives many people hope for the upcoming week. I eventually decided that instead of skipping an episode or two, I'd do something extra special.
When I talk to parents each week, I am so often blown away by little stories of 'signs' that they received after the deaths of their children. Now, we definitely don't always interpret these signs the same way. I tend to think of them as messages I get from God letting me know that Andy is OK. Other parents think of them as signs directly from their children. Overall, I don't think that part matters as much as the overall comfort that they give us as parents.
Over the last few weeks, I have asked for people to send in stories of their 'messages from heaven,' and I have, quite simply, been blown away. I was hoping to get a few little stories to make Christmas feel 'not quite as awful.' Instead, I have been given true stories of hope that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. Many of these stories actually made me smile. I don't think that I will look at a green Matchbox car, a cardinal, a butterfly or the color orange ever the same way again. My hope is that these stories will bring smiles to your faces as well.
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