Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Those gifts for THOSE occasions...

No I'm not talking about birthdays or Christmas or even Valentine's Day (dirty minds can be left at the door for this post). I am actually talking about 'gifts' that are given to people under non celebratory circumstances...

When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and spent a week in hospital, I had many cards sent to me, but I also had a number of gifts too. Obviously not chocolate or any sweets, instead I got a few angel type ornaments. I guess people were trying to show me that I was going to be 'looked after by the angels' and it was a lovely gesture. I was 15 years old after all. And I did love and appreciate these presents.

Giving presents at non celebratory times is just not something we think about until the time comes, and we decide to give someone something in their time of sadness, worry or fear.
Of course there is always flowers. But somehow flowers don't always express what we want to convey..

When my mum was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, the mother of my boyfriend at the time had given my mum a gorgeous little bear called 'Precious'. And that bear still holds so much meaning to me. As does another teddy bear we were given at the time named Toffee. Toffee travelled with my dad, sister and I around the world after my mum had passed away, we took photos of Toffee with us in all sorts of landmarks. I guess teddy bears signify comfort, cuddles and snuggles, and I believe they can be a beautiful offering in the right circumstance.

Today I gave a gift to a lady whose daughter has just been diagnosed with Autism. It was an Autism Awareness bracelet. Ok so she probably thought "Bottle of gin would've been better" hahaha, but no, the look in her eyes and the hug definately told me it was a good 'non-celebratory' gift. I think there are times, like when a diagnosis is given, it is sometimes a lovely gesture to give a little sunshine rather than a look of sadness or pity. I know material things don't make up for what has happened or is happening, but they certainly can puff up the spirit a bit. 

When I lost my baby Dylan, the hospital gave me a little knitted outfit that the nurses took photos of him in. That knitted outfit is such a priceless gift.   Parents who lost their babies many years ago were never given any momentos. But thankfully an amazing organisation/registered charity called Little Angels Memory Boxes have been sending out their own form of 'non-celebratory' gifts to recently bereaved parents in Australian hospitals. I wish they had been around over 3 years ago, but luckily I had that lovely team of nurses who put together a little package of photos and the outfit for me.

All the 'non-celebratory' gifts I have received over the years I have kept and I still look at from time to time. They bring back memories, make my thoughts and feelings about that particular experience valid,  they also remind me that people care for me, love and support me. 


Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

I think non celebratory gifts can be very thoughtful and helpful.

Recently one of my friends cousins was killed in a terrible car accident. I sent the parents and my friend a Roseanne Cash CD called The List. They really liked it. It gives them comfort and connection when they need it. I thought it might be a bit of a strange gift but I also thought they'd appreciate the intent even if they didn't like the music.

Jessicats said...

So true, Yeran. When my father passed away I was given a beautiful black journal by a friend of his, and in it was a big, white feather pressed between its pages. It was given to me as a way to record my feelings and memories about my father, and his passing. I was touched by the gesture, and wrote profusely in it. It is something I will always have and treasure. I guess when people are touched by tragic circumstances, many don't know how to respond. But as you say, these 'non-celebratory' gifts and gestures can be just as loved and appreciated as celebratory ones, maybe even more so.