Silent tears fell down my face, as I tried to compose myself. The silence was overwhelming. It is meant to be the most wonderful time of year, a time for warmth and love – full of family. It isn’t a silence that you’re probably thinking of, it is the silence of someone missing – a little girl. I remember one Christmas after we lost her, we didn’t have my older two children, but had Melody’s sister. It was confusing, it was quiet, far quieter than it ever should have been.
We went away each year that we didn’t have the older two, I couldn’t bear to be in the house, without all our children. I was overwhelmed with guilt, torn apart by wanting to cancel it all, and making it as normal as it should be for the children.
Late 2011, I was pregnant with her, we made plans for the following Christmas, we were excited for the next with a new baby. She had a heartbeat, she was alive. That was our one and only Christmas together, but it was just me and her; nobody else got to have her.
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Christmas 2011, I will always wish that I savoured it more.
We should have made the most of the wonderful time of the year. That year my older two children spent it with their Dad, whilst my husband and I just shut ourselves away, knowing that the following year it would be different – it was but not the way we had hoped. A baby’s first Christmas, without the baby.
We wondered whether the baby would tear the tree lights down or scream at Santa’s beard. We didn’t do a lot that festive period, because it would happen next year.
2011 was also our first as a married couple.
My husband brought me a black t-shirt with hand and footprints, making it look like the baby was making them from the inside; it became my favourite t-shirt. Cards signed “from bump”, the baby was already a massive part of our family.
It would be the one and only Christmas we had with our “bump”. Our only one with her.
Christmas 2012 I was pregnant with another baby, terrified and grieving. The guilt of wanting to make Christmas magical was overwhelming. That first Christmas, I hated everything about it. It made me feel tense and uncomfortable. There were no hopes for the following year, how was I meant to plan for a first Christmas when one of our children never made it? How could Christmas ever be the same?
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I think people find it hard to understand why Christmas can be difficult for us when Melody never even had one when we never had those memories with her. I guess that is your answer, we had a child, who lived for five weeks; then she died. Leaving the most special time of year confusing and sad.
We have a daughter who should be almost 7, but we do not know what she would have liked – her favourite hobby. Buying flowers or candles doesn’t seem right, let alone fair. I don’t know many 7-year olds who would wish for flowers. I miss her more on these special days, these days are for the family; it makes it more obvious that she is missing.
A bauble on the tree and a photo in a frame is all we can do.
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