Grief – an exhausting, unwelcome beast of an emotion. But let’s be honest – it’s more than an emotion. An emotion is something like feeling “sad” or “melancholy.”
Grief is something much more profound. It’s something that never leaves you. It is a soul-crushing, all-pervasive presence that sucks the life out of you. It is an unbearable pain that has the power to break your heart and take your life. I mean this in the most figurative sense, but also in the literal sense (Google: Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds).
Grief has now become a central part of who I am. In fact, it is in control more times than not. I’m hoping some day in the future this won’t be the case, but for now, it is the case. And I live with it all day, every day – day in and day out.
The Year 2016 is a paradox for us. It was the best year of our lives, and yet, it was the worst year of our lives.
It will forever be etched into the history book of life for Andy and I. It contains many life altering moments – good and bad. I find myself reliving these moments and reflecting on how very quickly your life can change.
When we entered 2016, I can honestly say I was the happiest I had been in my life. I was pregnant with our first child. I was going to be a mother and Andy was going to be a father. By Christmas, Andy and I would be a family of three with a beautiful baby. I was on top of the world; the prospects of the Year 2016 held unlimited happiness for us.
When I started out with the idea of the Angel Tree, I wasn’t sure how many parents would allow me to honor their child. There are 140 baby names on this tree. I am so happy (is that the right word?) to do this in memory of their children during this holiday season. Yet when I stand back and look at this tree, and look at each unique ornament, I will admit – I get overcome with overwhelming sadness.
All of these babies – gone. All of these parents – devastated. Hopes and dreams utterly crushed. For me, knowing that I will never be able to spend a Christmas with my son brings me to my knees. Each year for the next 50+ years, I will always wonder what it would have been like to have him here. I will always wonder what it would have been like to have him wake up on Christmas morning to see if Santa’s milk and cookies are gone and to open his presents. We will never know. A piece of our hearts are missing. I know I’m not alone in this and that every parent of the babies remembered on this tree feel the exact same way. Although we can’t be with our babies each Christmas, it is so meaningful to have them remembered. And that is the purpose of the Angel Tree.
Although your presence has significantly heightened our pain, you have brought out the best in others.
I shared previously that I have found an online community of fellow parents who have lost a baby. I’ve connected with these parents on Instagram and Facebook. These individuals openly grieve, share their love for their children, and have hearts that bleed like mine. Their sense of community is a treasure trove of support. It’s through this support that I’ve built a lot of new friendships. I only know most of these women through social media, but we are all invested in each others’ lives and how one another is doing. Continue reading “Dear December – Part Two”
What a busy week. Christmas is fast approaching and we’ve hardly had time to slow down since Thanksgiving. We have a large family to buy for and we’re normally done with Christmas shopping by now. We’re behind our game this year. I just haven’t been in the Christmas spirit. But luckily you can buy anything online. Continue reading “Feeling Connected”
We got through Thanksgiving this year. Another first on a whole list of firsts marked off for us. To anyone who saw us yesterday, we looked OK, right? And we were OK. We enjoyed seeing our family and eating good food.
But we also desperately wished that our son was with us. What I didn’t tell anyone was that the night before, on Thanksgiving Eve, I had an emotional breakdown.
This weekend I have been busy working on the Angel Tree and it has been a very healing process. As I headed into the weekend, I had a list of things to get started on. I first had to find an angel tree topper. Check. Then buy crafts and supplies. Check and check.
I also was on the lookout for various items that reminded the moms of their children (e.g., bear, butterfly, angel, feathers, stars, hearts). I ended up finding a lot of these items that fit the bill perfectly. I was happy to find these because it will make these ornaments that much more special to my angel mamas. Another check. Continue reading “The Making of A Tree”