Christmas Without Tilda

As my birthday has now passed I start to look forward to Christmas.

In looking forward I do not mean that I am excited about it or wishing it to happen.

I mean that I need to start some clever planning.

To make Christmas as magical as possible.

Without Matilda Mae.

Come Christmas Esther and William will be almost three and a half.

This is the first year that it is really going to mean something to them.

And for me it just means heartache as I face a first Christmas without Matilda Mae.

Last Christmas was so special.

I made Tilda a sensory box and we were the only two up in the house for a couple of hours.

We explored it together and enjoyed early morning Christmas kisses and cuddles.

I am going to struggle to get out of bed this Christmas morning.

I need to have a plan for the season so that if all else fails I can go into auto pilot

And it will still be okay for Esther and for William.

I have plans for what I would like to do.

For our first Christmas without Matilda Mae.

I adore Christmas.

I have always found it a very magical and emotional time of year.

I have been planning our family traditions since David and I first met.

Now they need changing and adapting

For Christmas for us will never be quite the same again

We need a quiet, reflective approach

To this most wonderful time of the year.

My first plan is that as soon as advent arrives I will start to fill our house with light

Starry starry lights

We have always had our Christmas tree in the lounge but this year I am thinking that we might have it in the playroom.

The Snowman has played an important part in each Christmas I have had with David

Particularly since we had children

Esther and William watched it avidly on their very first Christmas

A magical moment I will never forget

Last year we watched The Snowman and The Snowman and The Snow Dog time and time again

Esther and William loved it

Tilda loved it

It will always remind all of us of her

We nearly had music from The Snow Dog soundtrack played at Tilda’s funeral

So this year, in her honour

In Baby Tilda’s honour

I want to make our lounge The Snowman room

With Snowman themed decorations

All in white, green and blue

Then in the playroom we will have our traditional tree

Our memory tree

Decorated with light and love and memories of Baby Tilda

Also in the playroom I am going to create a starry window that looks out

Out on to Baby Tilda’s garden

Where, nestled among the trees and plants, will be lots of candles and lights

And some little reindeer

Tilda loved Christmas lights

We are going to fill our home with them

As our hearts are full of love for Tilda

Decorating the house will be easy

It is all in honour of her

Our Christmas angel

Our little star

Christmas crafts at home will be easy

Sharing Christmas stories and poems and films

Making festive food

All of these things mean I will be busy

We will be busy

Making the most of the season

It is the important days themselves that are going to be hard

I was so proud of Tilda last year

Sitting up to the table for her first Christmas dinner

I had no idea that it was her only, her last

Christmas dinner is going to be hard

Giving presents is going to be difficult too

I cannot bear the thought of only two piles of presents

I hate the idea of sitting as we always do with extended family

Giving out presents in turn

Because it will hurt too much that she is not there

These things need to be missed

Or we need to find a new approach

I think at least for this year

We may just stay at home

I just think that trying to do anything else is going to be too hard

Because no one really understands

And everyone wants to enjoy their Christmas

I think it will be best if we have this first Christmas at home

But then I worry if that is selfish?

David has never missed a Christmas with his Mum

Esther and William adore going to Granny and Grandad’s house

And apart from our own home it is the safest place in the world to be

Christmas needs some thinking about this year

I just never ever imagined that our daughter would not be here.

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12 thoughts on “Christmas Without Tilda

  1. I know it is a hugely different circumstance. But some years ago I lost the day the week before Christmas. With young nieces and nephews we couldn’t just ignore Christmas, but we made it very different. We had chinese take away for christmas dinner, had our presents in piles to dive into.. We watched films and TV (the TV was always banned in my parents house on christmas day!) and ate as and when we wanted. It wasn’t easy, but it was fine.. and the kids had no expectations so didn’t know it was ‘wrong’.

    I hope you find something that works for you.. and that you still manage to love christmas

  2. I don’t think anyone would question your decision to have a Christmas at home. I think it’s a good idea, because you can spend some time looking out onto Matilda’s garden and remembering her. Maybe after dinner your family could come over so that you and David could have a moment together?
    It is going to be so hard and I do not know how you will get through it, other than as you already suspect you will, by keeping busy. Do what you need to do to get through it with a smile for the twins and a tear for Matilda Mae when all is still once more.

  3. I’m just sitting here in tears, Jennie, thinking of how hard this Christmas is going to be for you. Or rather feeling how hard it will be as a feeling in my chest rather than a thought, a kind of compression on my chest when I imagine your day, and I wonder if I feel that just of the thought of you, how on earth you must feel. And I know there is no perfect for you anymore without Tilda… But of all the planned ways that Christmas under these circumstances could be, yours sounds just the very best, and very, very beautiful and special despite everything. And I know I’m going to read your blog after Christmas and feel so proud of you for making it through and making it magical for Esther and William in your inimitable way.

    We almost always travel to Cornwall and spend Christmas with my parents and sisters and their families and because we moved into this mew big house and it will take us till Christmas to really settle in, we’re going to do Christmas here the four of us. It will be a tiny bit emotional and I will shed a slight tear on Christmas morning thinking of my siblings toasting breakfast champagne without us (because I’m a big baby that way, haha!) but I also really think it’s a positive thing to do for my boys. They love this house so much, it’s time to give them the kind of home-based, insular family Christmas I enjoyed so much as a child. (We usually stayed home just us at Christmas in my childhood and it seemed magical and just right to me then… It’s only as an adult that it seems weird to be “my mum” in the scenario and make the Christmas dinner!) I’m looking forward to reading all the ways you make your Christmas magical, and maybe copying some of them in my house!! Matilda Mae will be remembered in my house this year too.. I am putting some star lights up in her honour. Lots of love x x x x x x x x x x x x

  4. I think you should do whatever you need to do to get through it, and that is not selfish. Whatever you decide, it’s probably best to make it different from what you have done before to avoid the worst of the comparisons. A different way of giving out presents? Eating at a different time? I don’t know, but I hope you will find a way that is bearable for you. Could you visit David’s parents for part of the day, but have your meal/ present-giving at home?

    All your plans for the decorations and lights for Tilda sound lovely x

  5. Traditions are there to be made and changed. They evolve with us and with our changing needs. If your little family needs to huddle together and remember, then that’s what you need to do. The wider family will understand. They will worry for you and will likely help in any which way they can.

    With regards to the pile of presents- maybe you can create a third pile? Some symbolic gifts- just for Tilda- a special candle to burn for her, a Christmas cactus with beautiful pink and purple bloom,…and some other gifts which you present on to those in need.

  6. Oh Jennie I can not begin to imagine how hard it will be for you and David this year, I don’t think it would be selfish at all if you were to stay at home, you need to do what is best for you to make it through a tough day. Your ideas sound like a perfect way to remember Tilda at such a special time of the year.

    Perhaps with the presents have one big pile or huge bag/stocking? For the dinner perhaps a candle and a photo of Tilda or something she loved? Perhaps if you have family close by the twins could go to them for you and David to have a quiet hour or so? xx

  7. I think, as someone has already said, that perhaps to drop some traditions and make some different ones might help. We lost my Gran on Christmas Eve a few years back and suddenly Christmas Day went out the window. We had been planning to have Christmas Dinner with her in hospital, but instead we suddenly had nowhere to go and my Dad was basically falling apart. But actually it ended up being a good Christmas. We surrounded ourselves with people who understood, people’s Christmas spirit came out and all descended on my other Nan who made her Christmas meal go a bit further (5 people further). I know losing a grandparent is completely different to losing a child, but I’m just saying that actually making things different can help a lot.
    Christmas is always such a reflective time, and I know that I always spend some time in the run up, and on the day itself, thinking of those who are no longer with us. Days like Christmas just highlight the holes in our families as sad as that may be. But I also think they are a time of great healing and joy as they bring people together.
    I can’t imagine the pain that Christmas will bring you Jennie, but just know that Baby Tilda will be one of the people I’ll be remembering. x

  8. You are just incredible, still fighting through, still making such wonderful plans for a great Christmas. I really cryed reading this, I can feel your pain, I am so sad for you and ur family. Your in my hearts and prayers today xx lots of love xxxx Cara @betseyloves

  9. My twin sons died last November, but my husband and I chose to celebrate Christmas as usual, spending Christmas and Boxing Day with my family and then going to see his family for the next few days. With hindsight, we wish we had just spent it alone, and we will be doing so this year. Being around our newborn niece, having everyone joyfully exchanging presents and playing games, it was all too much when we had only buried our sons just a few weeks beforehand. Do whatever feels right for you and your family. I hope it’s as peaceful as it can be for you all. x

  10. I can’t even imagine how Christmas will be for you this year and funnily enough whenever I think of Christmas I think of you and how hard it will be. Know that we will be lighting a candle and saying a prayer for Matilda Mae on Christmas Day, as we have done many times since February.
    I think perhaps your old traditions will be replaced with new ones, reflective ones that make Baby Tilda still very much a part of your Christmas. It is such an emotional time as it is and I hope that in time your family will be able to enjoy parts of it. But this year, you need to do what is right for you. I am so sorry that you have to go through this Jennie. x

  11. We will all be thinking of you over Christmas. Do whatever is right for your family. I still can’t believe that last Chrstmas will be her only living Christmas. So unfair. Your ideas sound wonderful and it will be really hard but by planning it and having that awareness you are doing the right thing yet again for all of you. Sorry I can’t think of the right words to say but didn’t want to read and not leave a comment xxxxxxx

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