#AdventToRemember is a project aimed at anyone grieving over Christmas, and missing a loved one – whoever that may be.
It was born from our first Christmas after Leo died, when we shared our Advent project for him on our blog. We decided to soften the pain, to do something everyday in his name, whether it be creating a new memory or a random act of kindness. It really helped the season pass by with a little less pain and gave us such fond memories of Leo’s first Christmas. It could never be what it should be, and it couldn’t erase grief – but it did help.
So, in 2017 we opened it up to others, and as a result, created a small community of those grieving at Christmas who were all sharing their love for whoever they were missing, through the hashtag #AdventToRemember. It created a wave of inspiration, and I couldn’t be more prouder of what everyone did. And now, in 2018, people are looking forward to Christmas in order to get involved in a project so heartwarming and grief healing and I’m excited to officially invite everyone to join in again this year.
We’d like to invite you to remember whoever you are missing this Christmas by performing an act every day in their honour throughout Advent – this isn’t just about baby loss, this is about grief and we are all touched by it at some point in our lives. This also isn’t a prescriptive project, there are no rules, no prompts, no requirements – I think its most effective doing things that reflect your family, interests and the love that you have for the person that you are remembering.
Whatever you choose to do though, I’d love it if you can share it each day using the #AdventToRemember and your own hashtag, #AdventForNAME for example, so that people can follow your specific activities as well. I hope that by sharing what we all do, it’ll help others see how they can honour their loved ones during the festive season (and beyond). But equally, if this feels like a private thing, by all means, keep it that way.
I hope that by taking part, you are able to soften the pain that can sometimes come from the intensity of the Christmas season, honour your loved one, and create new memories in their name. Please feel free to do as you wish and get as creative as you like!
What I would suggest doing throughout November is spend some time planning your Advent (and maybe getting creative and making some form of calendar?!) – have a look around you locally at some events that you may wish to go to and plan some dates for the larger things so you don’t have pressure on each day to fit it in, or think of what you’d like to do.
So, in a nutshell…
- Plan 24 different activities to do to honour your missed love one – they can be as small or as large as you’d like – but this is your loved one, and your way to honour them. Get creative, do what heals you, what you’d enjoy and you feel comfortable with.
- If you’d like to, share who you are doing #AdventToRemember for at some point before the project starts.
- Share what you do each day on your social media using the project hashtag #AdvertToRemember, as well as your own hashtag if you’d like, #AdventForNAME, and tag me so I don’t miss them – @thelegacyofleo. I’ll aim to share as many as I can in my stories each day to help inspire others.
Please also share this project – this isn’t specific to baby loss, please feel free to take part on behalf of anyone.
More info and follows… To find out more about #AdventToRemember, here is the introduction post from 2017, and here is the recap post from 2017. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and keep an eye out on the lead up to Advent to discover more – I’ll keep sharing people’s plans. And please feel free to signpost this page to anyone you think this project might help. To follow our personal Advent, #AdventForLeo, click here. To follow all the Advent posts under #AdventToRemember, click here.
If you are discovering this throughout the year, we will be doing it every year and welcome anyone who may be grieving to join in in whichever way you’d like.
Thank you so much for wanting to take part, and please do get in touch and have a gentle festive season. There is still love to be felt, even through grief.
Some Ideas for #AdventToRemember
Random Act of Kindness – Random Acts of Kindness can be a really fun, yet simple way to remember your loved one. Things that we did last year included leaving a coffee shop voucher in a random place, leaving bags of chocolate coins on park benches, leaving a bag of change at a car park, buying a coffee for a Big Issue seller, sending friends gifts in the post. We included notes to explain what we were doing and linked back to our Instagram account and it was lovely to have people let us know when they had found them. Equally, there is joy in anonymity.
Charitable Acts – Doing something for charity was important to me last year, as we’d spent a year fundraising for Leo, so it seemed in-keeping with the way that we honour him. We donated toys to a Christmas hospital toy drive, donated to a neonatal charity knitting bears for babies, and sponsored friends. It’s often a really easy one to do if you have a busy day but also want to make sure you’ve done something to honour your loved one.
Decorate – the idea of putting the tree up and getting the house all festive just made my heart sink. So, our plan was to decorate Leo’s grave first, complete with his own Christmas tree and Santa! Once I knew we’d gave him the festive decor, I felt happier about decorating at home – but we also made sure in advance that we had some decorations for him on our tree. I also made him a Christmas card for our last act, ready to take to him on Christmas morning. If you decide to decorate your home, or a place that is linked to your loved one, share how you’ve included or honoured them. Its easy to feel the need to pretend Christmas isn’t happening, but we LOVE Christmas, so to be able to find a way to soften it and include Leo, meant we felt happier about the whole thing.
Local Festive Events – as normal during the Christmas season, there are Christmas themed events galore! It helped the tiny part of our mind that wanted to embrace the festivities to attend these events in honour of Leo – some things were things we might have taken him too (a Christmas market for example) and others probably not (a Christmas light show, a carol service), and some were directly for him (SANDS Christmas Service).
View this post on Instagram
#AdventForJUNO WORK CHRISTMAS QUIZ Today’s #AdventForJuno was to go and have fun at my work Christmas Quiz. It can be tough to ‘carry on with life’ after your baby dies. You honestly feel that a part of you has died with them, and it can feel difficult to partake in the joyous occasions when guilty grief tugs at you for having fun… it can be a challenge at times when it just feels too forced and you’d rather just be sad. But I absolutely know that our daughter would not have wanted Lance and I to stop living. She would want us to be true to ourselves when we need to take time out, but she would want us to make new memories and have life beyond loss. So, today, driven by that thought, I went and played silly games with a bunch of other doctors and can’t believe it, I was on the LOSING team!!! #supercompetitive Thanks to the hubby for the lend of the Starwars Christmas jumper! #AdventToRemember
Creating Memories – One thing we always like doing for Leo is to create new memories that are associated to him. Last year, we visited new places and went to different events – and all together, December last year just reminds me of Leo, our love for him, and the memories that we made – not the pain of his death, or missing him. I figured thats a pretty good Christmas gift to yourself?
Please share your own ideas along with the hashtag to help inspire others.
Please do get in touch if you’d like to take part and what to know more.
Jess – x