My favorite moments of the Christmas season are often the quiet moments – early in the morning before the world starts moving. I love having Christmas music playing low and it’s usually my time to let my mind wander. My mind this morning wanders everywhere. I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m hopeful, I’m joyful, I’m numb. I’m also still very much in the processing phase of what our lives looked like a year ago. This week, last year, actually makes me laugh. In the span of five days we closed on our home, moved into our home, wrapped up our CHI apartment, I had my port surgery, fainted after my port surgery, wore my last pair of mismatching socks to the hospital ever (sock shamed) & successfully shopped for a wig I’d need in three short weeks. How did I even function? All of this while recovering from major surgery and preparing for chemo/radiation, which started the following week. I’m shaking my head at it all – one because we are probably a little crazy, but more so because I can’t believe that was our life. I’m so deeply grateful that I’m healthy this year and not going through all of that right now.
And while I feel that level of gratitude that I’ve never experienced before, there’s a piece of me that wants nothing to do with the holidays this year. Bold statement from a tried and true Christmas lover like myself! The holidays are a stark reminder of what’s missing in our life. These quiet mornings that allow my mind to wander are so needed for my sanity but also pierce my soul as they should be mornings filled with baby giggles and Christmas jammies. I’ve found grief to be impossible in so many moments, but I had no idea what was coming for me as the calendar ticks closer to December 1st. Grief is obviously difficult at the pure fact of Hallie missing from our earthly life but what makes grief nearly impossible is the way it creeps in with no warning. And I feel like it’s magnified mightily during the holiday season, when days are usually filled with so much joy. We should be stockpiling toys and yet, ‘stuff’ doesn’t interest me one bit this Christmas season. I actually find myself resenting it a bit, to be honest. It all seems meaningless when we would trade everything we have and all that we are to have Hallie terrorizing our Christmas tree ornaments this morning.
That’s all obvious, though. Or at least for us.
What plagues me even more are the moments that you just don’t expect. Moments you can’t plan for. And when you’re a planner, my oh my, it can sure be paralyzing. At the risk of sounding dramatic, those moments are truly devastating. And they’re usually so random! You would think it’d be the obvious- seeing a baby girl in her mama’s arms, or a comment that is said and is just a total miss (regardless of intentions, which I know are usually always good!). We are actually pretty good at smiling and nodding through those moments, while silently cursing the world. If together, Kevin and I make eye contact and move on. If they happen while we aren’t together, we’ve actually amazed ourselves at our ability to rehash them, find a way to laugh and move on. You have too! But it’s the moments that something so small goes so wrong – I’m talking like fry sauce spilling or plans changing and suddenly your world tailspins. And then you feel stupid that something so small can trigger such a tailspin. And then you just realize how sad you are, how off you are. And then you realize again how much you’ve lost and changed physically and how frustrating it is to not even be able to function normally on top of it all. I call these moments, these days, my, “just go to bed and try again tomorrow” moments. I’m learning to not be so hard on myself but that is insanely easier said than done. This, y’all, is grief.
I had one of those nights last night, while out on a date night with Kevin. I hate it. I hate all of this. But I woke up this morning to Christmas decorations starting to take over our home and in the same breath that I say Christmas is so hard, it’s also such a savior. If none of this makes sense or doesn’t add up, I think that’s the whole point of grief. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t add up. Ever! It makes you feel a little crazy sometimes. All Kevin and I can do is keep talking, keep finding a way to laugh, and somehow keep being grateful for our second chance at life. And of course, keep praying for that baby of ours out there!
Here’s to making the most of this Christmas season as we try to navigate it all. 🧡🎄