A Baby’s Birth and Death, and Christmas (Again!)

It was our son Thomas’ birthday on Sunday. The next day was his death day. We’ve been remembering these two days for the last 15 years. Yes, Thomas would have been 15 if he hadn’t died as a baby.

I’ve been thinking about that. We’d have had another teenager in the family. Thomas probably would have been far taller than me by now. I wonder what colour his hair would have been. Who would he have looked like? What would he have been interested in?

Each year, I usually write a Thomas story as I look back on his birth and death and remember. I didn’t want to do that this year. I didn’t want to immerse myself in the sorrow and then invite sympathy from kind friends. I wanted to avoid the pain.

Then a couple of days ago, I decided I wanted to mark the occasion of Thomas’ birthday in some way after all. So I spoke about his birthday and death day in a podcast. 

I pondered the question: How do we homeschool when we are facing a huge crisis such as a death in the family? What did we do when Thomas died?

I also talked about the difficulties of facing that first Christmas without our son. I just did not want to celebrate when my heart was so heavy. 

It seems at first glance that grief and Christmas do not go together. But I’m wondering if perhaps they aren’t so far apart after all. I share some thoughts on why I think Christmas is actually a season for the broken-hearted. 

I end my podcast on a lighter note, returning to the subject of a simple Christmas.

Program Notes

Blog posts about Thomas

These can all be found on my blog The Baby Loss Club, though I have posted most of them on my Out of My Catholic Mind blog as well.

Thomas’ book
Grief, Love and Hope

Blog posts about grief and Christmas

Christmas: the Season for the Broken-Hearted

The Sacrifice of Christmas Shopping

Grief and an Advent Wreath

Thomas’ Gifts

If Only...


Blog posts about unschooling during family crises

Homeschooling in a Crisis

Learning From Life

Kelly Casanova – Textile and Fibre Artist

Blog: Kelly Casanova

Facebook page: Kelly Casanova – Textile and Fibre Artist

Christmas gift shoe box donations

Operation Christmas Child

Sophie’s video about Operation Christmas Child.

I hope you will listen to my podcast, regardless of whether you have lost a child. We all have ups and downs we have to deal with. They are part of life and we learn from them all.

The Angels of Abbey Creek

I haven’t written many new blog posts recently, but I have been recording a weekly podcast.You can find all my podcasts on my podcast page.

You can find my children’s stories on the pages of my novel, The Angels of Abbey Creek

And you can find my extra blog stuff on my Stories of an Unschooling Family Facebook page!

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    • Vicky
    • November 13, 2014

    It always sad to think of those days when Thomas born was born, Sue, but it was a beautiful podcast. I think there was faith here, and hope, too. Uplifting, despite the sadness. Especially, as you moved on from your own grief to think about helping others. So lovely 🙂


    1. Reply


      I'm glad you thought the podcast was okay.I wondered if perhaps no one would be interested in listening to a story of grief. It was hard knowing what to say and what to leave out. I guess I could make a whole series about Thomas! Uplifting… I am relieved you think so. Yes, there is hope. Thank you for listening. xx

    2. Reply

      That is the one word I would use to describe this and your other podcasts – uplifting!

    3. Reply

      Thank you Kelly!

    • Chris
    • November 13, 2014

    Will Def Be listening to your podcast soon, Sue. It's been a while since I could enjoy your podcasts…..We thought of you all last weekend and lit candles on Sunday, friend..Many prayers from the US for you



    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers, and for lighting candles. That was so good of you. I appreciate you remembering Thomas' special days very much. Love to you and your family! xx

  1. Reply

    Prayers going out for all of you….May the Lord's peace envelop and be your center.

    1. Reply


      Thank you very much! I'm so glad you stopped by. May God bless you and your family.

  2. Reply

    My mother is 83, and my older brother – who died at 5 mos, nearly two decades before my arrival – would have been 60 years old this year. I had to log into an account of hers to help her out the other day – the password was his birthday. She doesn't mention him often, but he is still in her thoughts, and his birthdays are not forgotten by his mother either. Bless both your hearts!

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing the story of your brother. Oh yes, a mother never forgets, even after 60 years. Every child is so important and very loved. I will say a prayer for your mother. May God bless you both!

  3. Reply

    Praying for you and your family and missing your blogging more for each podcast.

    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for your prayers.

      I do understand about podcasts being difficult for you. They are a good way of highlighting old posts though, and I think they are reaching a new audience. They have been quite successful. Yes, I haven't written much lately. I haven't actually felt very inspired. Every time I have attempted to write a post my words have landed on the screen with a heavy footed thud. Not light and interesting at all! I have started and deleted quite a few posts recently. Oh well. I will try again!

      Always lovely to chat. I hope all is well with you and your family.

  4. Reply

    You are lovely, Sue. Your radiance is felt all the way around the world…here to the US…to little me.

    Grabbing onto it…hugging it…and sending it back to you…with a hug and a kiss!! xo <3 😀

    1. Reply

      Virginia Sue,

      I am so glad my podcast wasn't depressing. Thank you so much for listening. Your words have travelled all around the world spreading joy! Love and hugs to you! xx

    • Hwee
    • November 18, 2014

    I've been winding down recently so have just caught up with your posts. Allowing ourselves time to grieve (however long that might take) is one way to heal. I don't think any parent would ever truly get over the death of a child, regardless of how little time they have together. It's very normal and human to miss those who we love.

    1. Reply


      It is so lovely of you to always keep up with my blog. I have been having a break but it's lovely to visit my own blog and chat with you. Thank you for your kind words!

    • San
    • November 18, 2014

    A beautiful story and one that despite the grief resonates with such hope and the love of God. Really wish I lived near to you Sue and that we could share cake and tea and life stories.

    May you be blessed in a very special way this week and I'm now off to catch up on some of your previous podcasts!

    San xx

    1. Reply


      Without hope I would never have survived Thomas' death. God is good! Oh I would love to share tea and cakes and stories with you. Maybe one day… I do have a few relatives in England. Perhaps one day we'll visit them, and you too!

      May God bless you as well, San. Thank you so much for listening and for your friendship which I am grateful for. xx

      • San
      • November 19, 2014

      If you ever get over to the UK our door is always open! Xx

    2. Reply

      I'll remember that San. Thank you!

  5. Reply

    I'm so glad that I finally made the time to listen (and yes, I did some knitting too!) though I'm really blushing over your kind words about me, thank you 🙂 There was so much in that podcast that I don't know which part to comment on! Even though I've read your grief book I loved to hear in your own words, more about Thomas. How wonderful to think of him as a saint in Heaven.
    I hope that if you receive some advice from the professional that your podcasts don't change too much, something I like about them is the simplicity and honesty with which you share, it's really so inspiring 🙂
    Now I see you have a new podcast on adventures, and I still haven't caught up on the teenagers one, so I have more listening to do!
    Thank you again and God bless.

    1. Reply


      It was such a pleasure chatting about you and Thomas' bear. I will never forget your kindness. No need to blush. You truly are a talented and special person.

      I was a bit hesitant about sharing Thomas' story in a podcast in case everyone thought it was too depressing. Now I'm glad I did. Thank you for your feedback. Also, your feedback about making my podcasts more professional is very interesting. Maybe the most important thing is to be honest, be who I am. The rest is just the trimmings, isn't it?

      Please don't feel you have to keep up with my podcasts. I can imagine people groaning, "Oh no! Not another podcast!" I did read podcasts need to be published on a regular schedule, especially if people are subscribing through iTunes so I've been trying to keep up. But maybe I'll run out of things to say eventually!

      God bless you!

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