It’s been a hard few weeks. I’ve been avoiding writing here for the last little while because I had felt I was making such strides forward to making this a place of positive reflection. But these last few weeks have really taken a toll on me emotionally. I am so incredibly lucky to have so much love and support from people who make me smile and make me feel loved even when it’s so difficult to love myself. You know who you are.
So what happened?
Well firstly, I guess, my dog died. I had had Cabot since I was 11 years old. He was 17 and he was the best dog I could have asked for. I’ve been trying to be rational in my grief over him, trying to keep in mind, he was 17 and lived an amazingly spoiled life for a little doggy. But it’s like when your 107 year old great grandparent dies – you’re sad for completely selfish reasons, because you’ll miss them and because your life is missing something without them here. I’ll miss my little buddy’s slobbery kisses, his pissing because he’s so excited and his ability to hear a cheese slice being opened from down the block.
Secondly, a very dear friend of mine was very badly injured and has been in ICU for weeks. Because of the circumstance, I have had to keep my distance and I know very little about what’s going on with him, and I don’t know when (or even if) I will be able to see him anytime soon. I worry myself sick over how he is, and if they’ll find who’s responsible for hurting him.
Then there’s the holidays looming. I think about the plans I had for this season, the gifts I tucked away last year. The “Parent-to-be” ornament that’s in one of the Christmas boxes that I know is going to send me into an anxiety attack when I find it. I think about all of my friends who will be celebrating babies first Christmas, and all of those happy pictures I’m going to have to see, and feel conflicted about. Babies first Christmas clothes. Pictures with Santa. Baby bumps in front of a glowing Christmas tree. I want to be happy for them, but more than that, I want to throw up. And I think about the fake smile I’m going to have to wear because this is the merriest eff-ing season of them all and it’s expected that I be happy, even when I’m sad. And quite honestly, I’m emotionally exhausted just thinking about it.
I used to be a Christmas person. But this year will be different. Very different. I am filled with equal mixtures of dread and determination to get through this holiday without coming completely unglued with grief. The thought of it suffocates me. It’s so hard to know that there are so many people like me suffering silently, putting on happy faces, tears in our eyes remembering our lost babies. I’m so ready for Christmas to be over. I have the biggest lump in my throat right now, I just want to throw up all of this sadness and start over. This is so utterly heart wrenching sometimes I wonder if I can wake up another day and do it again.
Before my daughter died, I had always imagined that child-loss must feel like a guillotine… bang!! Your head rolls off, blood spurts out of your neck hole and that’s that. You are a goner. It’s not that easy or quick. It eats you from the inside out, twisting your bones, wrenching your muscles, straining your nervous system and turning your skin into papery thin wrap. It’s waking up one day, deep in a hole with no flashlight. You hear a hundred and fifty-two voices at once. You feel like you need to outrun them. Hurry. You bump into everything, and your energy gauge is empty before you’ve even left the house. But you have to keep going, and not let everyone know just how tangled in the mind you are. And life keeps moving forward. You smile, and you stand under the mistletoe.
Dear Rhonda and Darcy:
I was going to try and write some words of wisdom, but all I can think of is that we will try and get through this Christmas together. Love you both. It has been a long time since July and we miss you. Love McMom and McDad
Probably should have wrote more last night but I felt so worn out I couldn’t write to you, but I agree with what you have written Rhonda. I love Christmas too. We have had years of wonderful Christmas times.
Dennis was always the happiest of Santas, looking for something that would delight his boy. Nothing was spared in giving him pleasure at Christmas. Lots of munchies were bought, and I would bake and bake, so that we could all have a favourite goodie. The Christmas tree was decorated with Dennis’s Christmas tapes playing in the background. Dennis sing the old Christmas tunes, was so much part of our Christmas. Our parents would welcome us with open arms and Christmas would begin. Then our parents were gone, and we had to soldier on. We tried to make our own memories and add all their ideas into Christmas too.
After you came into our family, I added you to the list of someone special to bake for and look after. We took pleasure into trying to find you something special. I felt like I had been given another child to look after. I sewed your Smitten Mittens with extra care, so that you and Darcy could hold hands and forever be entwined. Little did I know, the special bond, that Everlee would bring, that would join us all forever.
We then took turns going to Newfoundland and the celebrations and the enjoyment was wonderful as well. I was so proud of you, how you decorated your tree, and made your home so special. Your Mom and Dad welcomed into their home too, to celebrate. They graciously shared their Christmas Days with us, so that we could have you every other year in Goderich.
Everyone and Everything is so different now. Dennis and I have tried to be so brave. We wanted you to know that you didn’t have to come home this year, as we knew it would be so hard for you to see your friend’s with their new babies. Even though you both are delighted is seeing them, it is still hard, to think, why couldn’t Everlee been introduced too. I made it through buying a new little outfit for one of the new babies, but I couldn’t resist looking at the beautiful Christmas dresses, that I would have surely bought Everlee. I made it to the car, and then collapsed in a heap of tears. I patiently made her a Christmas ornament, when inside, I was burning up with sadness. We bought an ornament for her at the Angel tree and joined the many other families that are grieving for a lost child. I kept thinking why are we all here, this isn’t right. This is not how it is supposed to be. But no one said life is fair. There are so many people, that have died young and older, way before their time.
Even to writing our Christmas Letter, which has always been such fun for Dennis and I was hard to do. We didn’t know if we could do it, because we didn’t want to upset anyone. And then we thought, no… Everlee is our Granddaughter, and we are proud to say we had her in our hearts and in our lives. I will forever remember holding her and her complete sweetness. When, Darcy asked, “Do you want to see her”, our hearts broke as we had been waiting months for this chance. She was the biggest part of 2013 for us and we must talk about her. We tried to be careful how we wrote, as we didn’t want to step on your toes. We wanted everyone to know about the love we both had for your baby.
Everything seems so unfair to me right now. I got out my decorations and found a little baker’s hat, that I bought last year for Everlee. I was going to pose her making cookies with it. Can you believe that I thought a 9 month old would sit still for pictures while posing with a rolling pin. The pictures ideas that I have saved from the minute you said were expecting Everlee is overwhelming. I look at them now and cry. I cry through all the Christmas Carols. There is not a day that goes by this past month, that my chin hasn’t had to hold tight, not to cry, when I think of her. But it is our love for you and Darcy that keeps us going. We will have to be strong for one another. If you feel like being in your room and quiet during parts of Christmas, then so be it. We will understand.
We still want to have 2013 Christmas. We still want to have turkey and the trimmings. I still want to bake Darcy his favourite cookies and for you Rhonda, your raspberry tarts. I look at the boxes of chocolates, and think I must get those for Rhonda, her favourite. I don’t care about presents, as the one thing, I wanted, I cannot have.
I know that this is more about me and maybe I am not helping at all, but I am trying to say, is that we will help your both through this Christmas. We will always be there to help you both. Having you both home is all I need. It has been too long since July.
We will try and make it a good Christmas and we will hold Everlee in our hearts forever. I pray that someday, you will have another child. Never to replace Everlee, but to give you the peace and happiness that you both deserve. Love from Everlee’s Grandma and Grandpa
The holidays will always be hard. I dread Christmas too and want it to hurry past. My twin daughters died 15 days and 8 days before Christmas in the NICU. The lights and trees will always remind me of the foolish hope I held onto. Xoxo
It will be a hard christmas ic an only imagine, the words your mother in law conveyed are beautiful. You both are beautiful writers
Hang in there. I am dreading many of the same things too.
P.S. I’m so sorry about the loss of your cute doggie. My dog is almost 14 and I dread losing her. She gives me so much comfort and little moments of warm fuzzies every day. That must hurt so much to lose.
My due date, my birthday, and Christmas are within 4 weeks of each other. I’m not feeling this time of year either. I’ve been avoiding leaving my house. Stay strong girl.