So, a year ago, I wrote this blog post. Christmas was coming and I was not even the least bit excited. I was facing a day that was going to be everything it shouldn't have been. Really, I'm facing a lifetime of that, but it seems exceptionally glaring during the holiday season. Christmas is a day of light, love, and family. Last year, I didn't feel any of that. I felt broken and sad. I was scared that Piper would never make it out of me alive, and I was worried that Christmas 2014 would also arrive joyless and dark. Well, Christmas is here again, and while it has much more light around the edges than last year, it's still no bed of roses.
You hear all about how the holidays are difficult for people. How people often feel the most isolated and the most hopeless than at any other time of the year. You hear it. You read studies and articles. Maybe you even know someone who has lost someone they love and you see them struggle during this time of the year. But, unless you actually are one of those unfortunate people, you really don't know just how hard it is.
The holidays are hard. Really, really hard. Sometimes, impossibly hard. Even when more joy has found its way into your life, this time of the year has a way of peeling it away from you. You see all that should have been instead of all that is. It often feels like you are stuck in a life that shouldn't be yours. At a time when everyone else is festive and excited, all you can think about is who is missing and what you aren't able to do the way you wanted.
This is Piper's first Christmas, and I am trying very hard to make it memorable. For the first time in my adult life, I have a regular Christmas tree. With lights and ornaments. I hung stockings. (four of them). I took her to see Santa Claus, which she couldn't have cared less about, but it was more for posterity's sake anyway. I bought her a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament and onesie with a little penguin on the butt. I even have a present wrapped and under the tree. I want to continue my family's tradition of receiving a nightgown on Christmas Eve and opening stockings before breakfast on Christmas morning. I want to start some new traditions even though I haven't thought of any yet. I want to be a family. I have waited so long to feel like a family. Christmas is the time, right?
And still, we are one less. We will always be one less. No matter how wonderful I try to make Christmas - or any day - Kenley will never be here to see it. It's really hard to not feel completely hopeless about that. It's hard to muster up feelings of joy and happiness when I know she will not get to experience it. Ever. Everything I do for Piper, I should also be doing for Kenley. But, I'm not. She's not here. She won't ever be here. And I will always put up the Christmas tree without her. Hang stockings without her. Open presents and watch her sister play - without her. Every day is without her, but it feels especially empty on Christmas.
How do you ignore such a gaping hole in your life?
You just string some tinsel around what you can and you hope for the best.