Last year, for our first Christmas without our babies, Louie and I went away. We spend it in Las Vegas as an attempt to avoid the triggers and give ourselves some respite. We were still reeling from losing Rainbow – I had stopped bleeding just a few days before we left, and the memories of how different the previous Christmas was (how we used that time to share our pregnancy with family and friends) brings to mind where the term crackpot came from.
This year, there was no running away. I didn’t have the energy to plan an escape. I was scrambling to find a job after learning that my contract was over. And as scroogey as I felt last year, this year, I was filled with even more bah humbug. Why? Because I am so acutely, cognitively aware of this emptiness that it’s almost physical. The shock of losing Calvin, despite preparing myself to bring home a special needs child; the shock of also losing Rainbow (which is a big, painful in your face to people’s try again quick fix); the shock caused by some people’s reactions to either or both of my losses… all of this has started to fade. And in it’s place, reality has started to root itself into my everyday Calvin-less and Rainbow-less living.
But then the holiday cards started to come in, all from mommies who were missing their babies.
With each card, I would tell Louie who it was from, how I knew her, and a little of her story. And on the day before Christmas Eve, what you see in this photo happened. And this is where I finally found my piece of Christmas spirit, frail and small as it was.
My husband helped me tack twine to the walls, and we used binder clips to hang the cards up. The one in the middle of the bottom string is our holiday card with Louie’s drawings of Calvin and Rainbow. Every card in this photo represents a family who knows the heartache of losing a baby.
But see how beautiful these cards look hanging in our living room? Each one represents a connection, a friendship, a shared bond that has grown far beyond the tragedies the brought us together. These cards represent the amazing people who have walked (or blogged or persie’d) into my life and shared our grief even as they nursed their own wounded hearts, and who continue to uphold as we walk the difficult road of life after loss – this includes those whose cards don’t hang by our wall. It’s small and simple and amazing, to find my Christmas spirit on paper stuck on some string.
How about you, reader? Did you have trouble finding the holiday spirit this past season? Did you eventually find it? How?
Dear Calvin, it feels like so long since I’ve held you in my arms, yet, I still can’t believe your 2 years is almost here. Typing it, seeing it written out… it brings me to tears. You and your sister continue to inspire me. Even when mommy is slow to move forward, to take action, know that you two are the motivation that pushes me on. I love you so much. I wish you were here, so I could hear you say ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy.’ I wish Rainbow was here cooing and babbling. Someday. Until then, Happy 22 Months in heaven, my love. Mommy and daddy are so thankful for you.