Winter Solstice Reflections

It is the darkest day of the year here in Colorado: the winter solstice. Tonight I am thinking of my dear ones who are both joyous and grieving in this sisterhood and brotherhood of integration of all aspects of our longing souls. And tonight my heart is filled with love for the children who are processing and integrating their own grief and losses and joy and excitement over the holiday season.

Tonight my son and his two friends spoke to Mrs. Claus at a holiday event in Littleton. Mrs. Claus asked my son if he was good to his sister and brother.

“My sister is dead,” he said, “they are my friends.” He pointed to Elliana and Silas while Mrs. Claus ignored his statement and his truth and admonished him to be a good boy for Santa. Mrs. Claus, like so many others, did not acknowledge my boy’s reality, and I am angry tonight as I sit by a tree lit with white lights and angels flying in memory of my boy’s sister Mary Rose, because his loss needs to be acknowledged so that he can heal. 

The year 2019 is fading as I write, but it brought a few End of Life Doulas into my life. Cindy Kaufman and Nessa Walker Johnson, both EOL Doulas and writers, are working to change the culture around death here in the Denver area, and perhaps because I breathe into my mortality daily, I too want to normalize the support of those who have been affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn and infant loss. 

The reality that I wish to embroider on the tapestry of my soul is only love. Love for each mother who cannot physically hold her daughter or son, yet who still feels the echo of that life and movement that was once inside her body. Love for the siblings who live in the shadow of a dead baby, a sister or a brother whom they do not know. The children are navigating their lives with friends and their siblings and death when our culture chooses to ignore death, and therefore their ghost sisters and brothers.

This holiday season, as we stretch ourselves to do and be and celebrate and honor, I hope that we each take heart-centered breaths and beam our grief-filled joy out into our dark world to show others that we are more than ok as we serve each other tea and cookies and respect for each member of our family and tribe, present, or gone from this earth. 

You are not alone, Reader. I am here, and I send you much love this holiday season. I hope that you and your loved ones are acknowledged and honored this winter and forevermore.

Author: Dianna

DIANNA VAGIANOS ARMENTROUT is a published writer, teacher, workshop facilitator and poetry therapist. She graduated from Adelphi University’s Honors Program and earned her MAW from Manhattanville College. Dianna’s pregnancy with her daughter, Mary Rose, who died an hour after birth of trisomy 18, changed her life completely. Her blog, Walking the Labyrinth of My Heart, was launched in April 2015 as a way of offering support to others going through pregnancies with life-limiting and fatal diagnoses.

2 thoughts on “Winter Solstice Reflections”

  1. Hi Dianna….I just read this entry….I’m not surprised that Mrs. Claus did not acknowledge your son’s statement that “his sister is dead.” I’m sure she was caught off-guard…& wasn’t trained to deal with a child’s grief. Some people in that role may have been able to simply respond “I’m sorry.” But she may also have been dealing with her own personal grief…each of us are dealing with loss of loved ones & sad memories….at this supposedly joyous time of the year. Possibly she was emotionally unable to handle or even acknowledge your son’s loss without opening wounds of her own.
    Georjean just messaged me. I told her I was on an email with you. We send you & your family our love & best wishes for a joyous holiday! 😘

    1. Thank you for writing. This is why there is a movement to work with people to understand grief so that we can support each other within the larger culture. I find it inexcusable for people to find out that someone has died and then ignore the information. We need more vulnerability and raw honesty. We can do it. We are all grieving or will be grieving since death is inevitable though many choose to ignore it. Take care of yourself. Love to you and Georjean.

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