Saturday, December 1, 2007

Wake Me Up In 2008

I have always loved Christmas. It's such a magical time of year. I think it's so special because family and friends are gathered around. We make homemade cookies together using a passed on recipe. We sing carols as we adorn the tree, then lay under it to look at all the glowing lights. There are wonderful colors, sights, sounds and smells. You get to bundle up in cozy sweaters and socks and sit by the fire clutching a mug of hot cocoa (with marshmallows, of course). The birth of Christ is celebrated the entire month long- not just on one day. Attention to detail is apparent as you drive by beautifully decorated homes and open the precisely wrapped gifts. People give, not just take. It's a comforting time of year.

This year is different. At this time of year, there is such an emphasis on family and being together. Being jolly and bright. I'm neither of those. I'm grumpy and sad. I don't want to celebrate this season. And because it's so drawn out, it's even more depressing. My life and attitude has changed since my babies were taken away from me. Last year I decorated our home inside and out. I decorated the tree with ornaments I've collected throughout the years. I baked cookies for everyone. I wrapped every single gift under the tree with shiny paper, double stick tape and satin bows. We entertained a house full of people. I cooked. I cleaned. I never stopped. This year I'm tired and I don't want to do any of it. I don't want to *look* at any of it. I'm not just being lazy, it just hurts too much. I think part of the reason I did it last year even after losing Sam is because I was pregnant with Jack and I really thought there would be a different (a better) outcome. I was hopeful and positive. I was cautious, but I was happy. Knowing I had a second chance did something to me.

Mr. H hung up lights on the exterior of our house. He put out my light-up penguin. He put up trees anchoring our front door and a sign that says "Happy Holidays" Everything looks beautiful. I can't take any credit for it though. I feel badly for being in this rut because I don't want him to feel like he has to sulk because I am. But our home, as beautiful and charming as it is on the outside is much different inside. Much like myself. I'm not saying I'm beautiful and charming, but you know what I mean. I don't want to put up our tree or decorate our house. I can't bring myself to do it. And I don't want anyone else to do it for me either. But I feel like I'm cheating/denying Jack of his first Christmas. Sam got his, but since I'm in a bad mood this year Jack doesn't get to have his ornament hung on the tree next to Sam's ? That not fair. I doubt either one cares whether their ornaments are on display, but I care. I want to be a good mom and I don't know how to be that when I am so down and they are not here. I feel like a freak for doing all this for them. For doing this for non-existent babies. Now I feel like a bitch for just writing that they are non-existent. In my heart they are real, but I can't decorate a tree, buy them gifts, stuff their stockings or make them sugar cookies "in my heart". And there aren't any flights going to Heaven that I can get on. If I could, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

A friend suggested I put up a smaller tree with ornaments that reminded me of the boys. I have plenty of ornaments to fill up the tree. I have some with their name engraved on them, others that are hand painted. I have an angel I got from our vacation in Santa Fe. I have remembrance ornaments from Hallmark (one from 2006 and now 2007). I have teddy bears and snowmen, penguins and snow angels. I'm all set, if I could just do it. I tried to find a 3 ft. tree at Target, but didn't luck out. I did buy a few extra ornaments that I liked that reminded me of Sam and Jack. I got a blue bird, a butterfly and a dragonfly and their initials 'S' and 'J'. I want to want to be in the spirit, but it's not coming to me. I think my pain overrides my joy.

While we (my mom and I) were shopping she asked when I was going to put up our tree. I told her I wasn't going to. She asked why and I told her because I didn't want to. I didn't want to celebrate. She then tried to talk me into it and told be to quit being a scrooge. I have a right to not be so cheery all the time. I have the right to grieve in whatever way I see fit. I have the right to not put up a Christmas tree and not be chastised because of how I am feeling. Yeah, my life would be easier if I could just move on and forget about my sorrows, but it's easier said than done. I feel if I move on, I am forgetting them. I refuse to forget them and I don't know how to do one without the other. I don't know how to "celebrate" Christmastime without my family.


meg said...

Monica, this time of year is so hard. While I have never really been into Christmas, D absolutely loves it, so I feel like I am cheating him, because I refuse to do anything.

I don't do the tree, or decorations, or cards, or even go to the inlaws for Christmas day. Now, the reason I don't go to their house is that there are kids there and I don't want them to see someone down on Christmas.

At home, I don't want to see any reminders of it, because I can't bear to think of what should have been. I am a complete scrooge. I know I am, but I can't do anything else right now. This is all I can manage this year.

I think you should be o.k. with how much you can handle or want to do this year too. Because you are right, pain does override joy. And we're all doing the best we can.

Heidi said...

Monica, I can understand your feelings. I'm fleeing to Oregon so I don't have to be around my new nephew for his 1st Christmas. A suggestion on the tree for the boys. Last year, we bought a small living tree and I decorated it with Angel Ornaments for Lucas. After Christmas, we planted it outside in the yard. I plan on buying another one today to do the same thing.

Kristi said...

Were you & your mother shopping for Christmas gifts? If so, I'm impressed. I can't remember anything I bought after losing Sara. Being the crazy organized person I am, I bought most of our gifts before October. Any gifts bought after that probably sucked for our nieces & nephews. Oh well, our life sucked, they can get over it, my daughter is gone.

Don't do more than you're comfortable with. Don't force yourself to be happy. This is such a hard time of year. You'll find a way to honor & remember Sam & Jack, even if it doesn't include decorating a tree.

BTW, I got Sara's 3ft. tree at Hobby Lobby.

Becky said...


Your post made me cry. I feel the same exact way. For weeks I've been avoiding Christmas. It's my favorite time of year...my birthday is next weekend and the thought of it makes my stomache want turn. Dericks taking me out of town...to NYC to forget about things. And then Christmas...last Christmas my water broke...last Christmas I was so happy because like you said, I felt as though I had a second chance at life. And then I didn't...on Christmas Day...and things will never be the same for me again.

To make a long story short, we went and got our tree yesterday. I'm usually the kind of person that wants a HUGE tree all decked out with ornaments and the perfect angel on top. Instead, I spend the time going from place to place trying to find a 3ft tree that people wouldn't notice. Derick asked if I was ok...he assured me that we didn't need a tre...but I feel, like you, that I'm cheating Riley out of that. He deserves the perfect tree, the perfect first Christmas...like Dylan's...but I can't give that to him.

We're not going anywhere for Christmas. And since Derick just lost his job, we aren't even doing presents. Not to each other, and certainly not to anyone else. It's just to much.

I was feeling really down last week. Then I adopted two angels off of the angel tree. A boy, who's 2 and wants Spiderman things, and a little girl who's 3 that adores Disney Princesses and Dora the Explorer. It made me feel good to buy some toys for someone, and Derick was really happy about it. Maybe doing something like that would make you feel a little better about Christmas this year? Maybe you could find two little boys about the ages of Jack and Sam?

Anyway, just know that you aren't alone. And come Christmas...we'll probably be the only ones home by ourselves on a holiday centered around family but that's because our family isn't complete. And that's ok.

Christyna said...

Oh sweety. I'm so sorry you have such blues this tme of year but I'd think it was normal given your recent past.

I like the idea of finding children who would be near their ages and sending them gifts.

I also love the small real tree that you plant after Christmas. BUT if you don't want one then don't do it. Whatever get's you through the next few weeks and really dear you may wake up 3 days before Christmas and want a tree. follow your heart and instincts let everyone else "bite you".

I don't have a sense of family at holiday time and haven't really for years and it has to do with selfish rotten siblings, Parents living 1,000 miles away and the rest of my family so scattered we rarely get together. My family is what i make it, my very close wonderful friends and Walker and Anders. They somehow always make me feel better and they feel like home even when it's a sad home, they allow me to feel like that and I do them, they lost their Mother last February.

You do what you feel you need to do or not do, the rest of the world will not stop spinning and it doesn't make you horrible.