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When Birthdays Aren't Happy

Without a doubt, your child’s birthday can no longer be a day of joyous celebration; however, the day will still arrive every year, and you cannot stay in bed with the covers over your head. Well, you can, but your child deserves more than that. And, frankly, no amount of hiding in bed will delay the day’s arrival.

Our first birthday without Garrett was his ninth, and it was beyond painful for me, but because we had a six and four-year-old at home, we chose to have a party of sorts. We invited our closest friends and nearby relatives to our house and ate Garrett’s favorite foods: chicken wings, French fries, and Dairy Queen ice cream cake. To end the evening, we set off nine fireworks—one for each year.

At the time we did not intend for this to become our annual tradition, but it has become an event everyone looks forward to. This year we set off eighteen fireworks and continued to create new memories together, in Garrett’s honour, on his birthday.

Even though your child’s birthday will be filled with mixed emotions, make a plan and choose a tradition that eases your pain. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Spend the day doing something your child would have loved.

  • Buy a special gift your child would have wanted and donate it to a charity or hospital.

  • Bake and eat a special cake.

  • Look through photo albums and remember past birthdays.

  • Create your own personal tradition.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to spend this day.

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