Smiles Through Sad and Heavy Hearts

Christmas is approaching.

December is a hard month for my tribe. So many losses are in December, dare I say a disproportionate amount to the rest of the year.  Each and every week this month I know at least one Mama and Daddy mourning, a family missing, a baby lost.  One week had 4 babies. 4! It is the beginning of the loss season for Matthew and I with our Ava’s birthday approaching in February. Around Christmas my eye turns towards February, I cannot help myself. I hear the storm rumbling far in the distance, the winds shift and taste the rain.

Christmas Eve is my pinnacle of grief in December.  It brings back memories of the Christmas before her birth.  Of our joy and hope.  Of going to the ballet and feeling her dance in my belly, of the family we thought we were building and all our naivety. Oh, so much nativety.  Christmas Eve is always teary for me, bile rises in my throat, sadness bites and anxiety is high.  It takes a herculean amount of strength for me to dig deep and get through Christmas Eve without sitting and sobbing at one point or another.  

And of course, this year has the additional pressure of being a large family gathering.

Don’t get me wrong before Ava, I dreamed of this Christmas.  I dreamed of the Christmas where my family would be all together.  I wanted this.  I want this Lillian. I want this for my family but the pressure of this is beginning to fray me.  Getting wrapped up in all the Christmas festivities (come’on that was a pretty amazing pun…) and the millions of things I need to do to pull off this Christmas is making the grief stronger, bite harder and it is demanding more of my attention.

And it just makes me sad.

That is my default grief position.  Sad.  It becomes the only word I can think, the word I want to say, the word that makes the world fog over a little bit.  Sad.

This is the first year Lillian is into presents and all the festivities.  I am hopeful that if I turn my eye to her on Christmas Eve that her energy will propel me, refocus me and allow me to live in the moment.  Busy hands and cry.  Smiles through sad and heavy hearts.  I want her to have a lovely Christmas, for my family to as well and hopefully I will get a little quiet time with my first girl as well.

We will go and hang bells on Ava’s tree on Christmas Eve.  Bells so she can hear them ring and know we love her.  We will take a quiet moment and remember, always.