Not the feeling.
Not the tree.
Not the decorations or the snow or the beauty.
Just the day. The day before and the day of.
I want it to be over. Done. Where I can stop thinking about a day I had planned in my head with a baby. Finally.
I did this already. I had a sad last Christmas, missing what should have been a crazy ride home with a 3 year old and 4 month old twin boys in the car. It should have been insane. I knew it.
Instead it was quiet and sad. I felt guilty for ruining it for everyone.
But this year was going to be different. We would be bringing home a grandson to my parents house. Also 4 months old. Always missing my twins but my heart would be happy again.
It didn’t work out that way. I don’t understand it. So I want those hours that I had played over in my head as I cradled my belly and waited for the birth of my third son – I want those hours gone. Over. Back to being sad for an abstract life instead of one I really had envisioned. We talked about going away. Flying east, heading south. Anywhere new and different. It might not hurt so much somewhere else.
Then I look at my daughter.
This is her 4th Christmas. Full of wonder and joy. She just now understands the concept of Santa and Jesus’ birthday. Her anticipation of Christmas beams out of her shining eyes when she talks about it, over and over. “When will we go to Nana and Papa’s? How many days? When is Santa coming? Will he be on the roof? Can I see him? Where is the snow?”
It’s a constant, gentle reminder to me that these holidays aren’t just about me and my grief. They’re also about me being a mother to the little girl I am blessed to raise. And to take away Christmas from her this year – I can’t do that. It won’t bring me any more joy or comfort to skip or downplay it.
What happened to my sons happened. They are gone and I will miss and long for them forever. Every holiday, every event, every milestone will hurt for the rest of my life in some small way.
But she’s there waiting for me to make it magic for her, despite the pain and sorrow.
So we won’t skip Christmas this year. Why should any of us have to deal with more sadness? Maybe one year we’ll change it up and it will be the best thing for us. Not this year though.
Diana is owner and editor-in-chief of Still Standing Magazine and blogs her own life story at Diana Wrote. She and her military retired husband have two girls and three sons who passed away after birth; Preston and Julian, identical twin boys who were born at 20 weeks, and Kaden, who unexpectedly had cardiomyopathy due to a rare virus called ciHHV-6. He died in her arms at 3 weeks old.
In 2014 she traveled with World Vision to learn about maternal health and infant mortality in Zimbabwe, and later with them to Ecuador. She is working on a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. You can also find her work on Babble, Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post.