Today wasn’t all merriment and festivity. It was a hard day. It was our first Christmas without James. It’s funny to think that I had 36 Christmases without him and only one with him, and it makes such a difference. But such is life. The time someone is with us has no bearing on how much or little we miss them. He was here but five months, and yet, he changed our lives forever. He is with us forever.
My sweet daughters, of their own accord, picked out gifts for him. Both are intended to grace his grave. My eldest chose hers at the “Reindeer Shop” at school, without any guidance. My middle went with her daddy to select a (beautiful) remembrance.
We spent the day at home. Daddy made breakfast for his girls. I built a fire and lazed near it. We opened stockings and presents. In the emotional days leading up to Christmas, I completely blanked on the need to have a meal plan for Christmas Day. I had no turkey, no stuffing, no nothing.
Feeling blank and bereft and empty, after the presents, I lay down for a long winter’s nap. Jim patiently put together more than 1,000 Legos with Evaline and Hazel. When I woke up, he had made homemade chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, and salad. It was better than any previous Christmas meal I’ve ever had. He saved Christmas dinner.
Now I sit here and stare into the fire, and I miss my sweet son. I try not to question our decisions for him. I try to remember that everything we did, we did because we loved him unconditionally. But it’s so hard. It’s hard to see other trisomy 18 babies going on, celebrating Christmas with their families. Why not us? Why not him? It’s hard to be normal, when, less than a year ago, I held my son while he died. There are certain scars that never heal.
Every moment, I miss him. I am always aware of his absence, even when I am not directly thinking about him. I hope one day, this wound will start to heal, but it hasn’t yet. And so I am grateful for, if nothing else, that this holiday has been a quiet one.