With the New Year on the horizon and the 2012 holiday season closing, I must admit that I cannot help but remember how relieved I was at the end of 2005 when my “first” holidays without Matthew were over. I don’t even think relieved is “enough” of a word for that!
I sit here and wonder how many of you are feeling that too… I wonder how you may have felt at the very first few notes of hearing “Joy to the World” and felt nothing but heartache and pain. Where, oh where, is the JOY? You can’t buy it! I tried! Over and over again! Doesn’t work! You can’t buy peace either… tried that too.
How many of you struggled every single time you saw the lights of the season? The sight of new moms pushing a stroller through the mall… they were smiling… you were crying! I have so been there!!!
How do you go from there to here?
Finding a way to cope through the holidays was challenging but it was so much of a necessity that I had to figure it out. I wanted to enjoy the seasons with my family and my boys, yet part of me was so terribly sad without Matthew and I didn’t want to “not miss him.” Does that make sense? I knew we had to find ways to have him with us and I believe we have found a beautiful balance that works for our family.
For the last seven years we have blended Matthew into our daily lives, holiday celebrations and within our home. Our Christmas tree is full of family ornaments, and individual ornaments with Matthew’s name and the year, just like we have for his brothers. We hang a stocking for him on our mantle and fill it with cars that on Christmas Day we bring to the cemetery. We have quite a collection of cars out there! We purchase gifts for a child in need that is Matthew’s age, we talk about him, what he might like for Christmas if he were here. We miss him, together. Missing our son together has given us an open door for our boys to let us know how they are feeling. It is very natural in our home to talk about Matthew. They are never afraid to share their hearts about Matthew, about his passing or about heaven. We understand in our home that missing him is loving him… and yes, there is sadness with that, but also joy and hope in knowing we will be with him again. We will all be together again one day.
Doing these things is right for our family. I don’t think there is a wrong way to honor your child as long as it is right for you. Our home is filled with pictures of Matthew and things that remind us of him. As a mother, I want to do anything I can to preserve his memory and continue to do so because he is very much a part of our family, he always will be.
When the New Year began for 2006, I took a great big breath, had a big long cry and closed the door (actually more like slammed it shut!) on the worst year of my life. I had survived the first holidays without my baby boy without throwing a fruitcake at anyone! Anybody? You know looking back, I believe I could have thrown a few fruitcakes at some of those holly jolly folks! It was so exhausting, so mentally exhausting! I know many of you know what I am talking about. Big hugs to you! You are almost there, it is almost over… Take a deep breath, have a big long cry and slam the door on 2012! And if you have a fruitcake… 🙂
As I close and the New Year is approaching, I can say I am not sure what is in store for The Weatherly family in 2013, but I do know that whatever it will be, Matthew will be in the middle of it!
Blessings and love to you all for the New Year… may peace and love, joy and peace reside wherever you may go!