Thursday, 16 December 2010

Yes, We Are Having Christmas This Year

Yes, we are living in a different country than our family. Yes, we have to stay here in the UK because of my husband's job. Yes, we are still wrapped in a blanket of grief since losing our baby boy. And YES, we are having Christmas this year!!!

To be honest, we both really need it. It's been a rough road these past four months. A road full of tear-filled pot holes and gut wrenching speed bumps. It is dark and grey in London and the short days make me want to curl up in my bed and never go outside. But early on, I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would not let this tragic event become what defines me. Yes, I have lost my first and perhaps only child; and yes, I am devastated. But I absolutely cannot allow myself to become trapped in time. Christmas is here, and I love Christmas. So we are choosing to celebrate it in the best way we can.

I will be sending out Christmas cards this year. Not the usual, "The expat life is great and here's some photos of all the fabulous places we've been on vacation this year." cards that we often send. Not the, "Look, here we are with our new baby." cards I had hoped to be sending. Instead I chose a very classy black and white card with gold trim and a single black and white photo of us. Color photos just didn't seem appropriate this year. There will be no message other than Seasons Greetings and our names. Things are different this year and our cards will reflect that.

A couple of nights ago we decorated our house and tree. We played Christmas music like we always do. We also lit our son's candle. We bought two special ornaments for our son. One is of a baby boy in a blue stocking, the other is a heart that says, "In our hearts forever." Both have his name written on them. We put his ornaments up on the tree first. Then we took a few moments to express our sadness. We both cried and held each other for a while. Then we kissed and continued to decorate our tree. It looks beautiful. We also decided not to put the angel on the top of the tree because we want to leave room for our angel to come and visit. So I suppose there is an angel on the tree, just not one you can see.

I know based on reading the blogs of other baby loss moms that what we are doing is not what everyone would choose.  I completely respect and understand why for some people, the thought of celebrating a holiday is too unbearable to even comprehend. I had those thoughts as well. but ultimately we decided that the right thing for us was to go ahead. As tempting as it was to not acknowledge Christmas this year, there's something about coming home to the smell of a tree and a house full of Christmas decorations that always makes me smile. And I really need to smile these days.

It feels almost normal. In fact, it feels a lot like a new normal.


  1. Don't feel like you have to defend your choice to go ahead and get the best out of Christmas - it is a brave thing and yes, you are striving to make this a 'new normal' (can't write 'normal' without the ' ' ' bits now). I do love the smell of the trees and yours is a beauty! I've not those here in Australia, just the tacky tinsel versions. I love your son's ornament, something that I have not let pass either.

    I hope your Christmas is a good one
    Much love

  2. I love a real tree, and I did miss it when we cancelled Christmas in 2008. But Tess is right, you don't need to defend your choice. I cancelled Christmas for our family the year Hope died and was born, but that doesn't mean it is the right thing for all grieving mothers to do. You have to do what works for you, and it sounds like this is exactly what you needed.
    The tree is beautiful.

  3. Thanks ladies, I really do think we're doing the right thing for us while at the same time, honoring our son. It would have been a much better Christmas with him here though.

  4. Every time I read your blog, I come away with a feeling of hope being reborn. I have the deepest admiration for your strength (even though I know you lose sight of it occasionally),and I am rooting for you as you go through the process of selecting a donor.

  5. I've just found your blog via Blog Gems.

    I'm so sorry to read of your devastating loss. I am currently pregnant with my second baby and not a day goes by without worrying if everything will be alright.

    Fingers crossed 2011 will be a positive year for you.

  6. When I was going through the bad times I found it helped to keep things 'normal' as much as possible, but I never had to deal with a loss as devastating as yours. Hope 2011 is better. Over from Blog Gems.

  7. Beautiful blog. Always do what makes you feel happy in your heart because you come first.