Merry and bright

Spending Christmas in the hospital is one of the hardest ways to spend a holiday. It’s easy to get down about it, to feel nothing but sorrow for the things that we aren’t doing. It’s easy to feel sad that we are apart on Christmas Eve (Jim is at the hospital with James, and I am home with the girls).

But you know what, Trisomy 18? You are NOT ruining this holiday for us. Tonight, we had a WONDERFUL evening. Dare I say that it was a perfect evening – despite the fact that we aren’t at home, that we don’t have a Christmas tree and Christmas decor. It was a wonderful day, because I was able to be with my family, to do something to brighten other’s day, to support a sick colleague, and to help my boss out in a time of need.

I was off today, but I worked for a sick colleague. I helped my boss out by being there when he needed me. I helped my sick colleague. And after that was over, I picked up a huge meal from Whole Foods for my family. My nieces, my brothers, and my parents gathered in James’s PICU room for food, fellowship, and presents.

We had enough food that we were able to make plates for all of the nurses in the PICU, all of our fellow families in the PICU, and for the nurses across the hall in the pediatric ward. We had cookies to give to the hardworking security guard on Christmas Eve.

My heart was filled with love and joy. Love for my family. Joy that James is here with us almost FIVE months after he was born. We didn’t even know if we would get 5 minutes, and here he is, almost 1/2 a year old!

Today at work, I helped a woman ease the pain of her sweet, beloved companion. He was 10 years old, a handsome Labradoodle, and he was very ill. He was ready to go, and we made that decision together. As she was lying on the floor next to him crying, she said that she didn’t know why we chose to love dogs, because they couldn’t be here long enough. And then she said that it didn’t matter that he couldn’t be here long enough, because she would do it all over again anyway.

My heart filled and lifted because what she said rang true- not just about dogs, but about all our loved ones. It rang particularly true for James. He can never be here long enough, but I would still do it all over again.

Hug your loved ones. Merry Christmas.

Love, the Ashes

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