This year, I have lost my enthusiasm for the festive period. Usually, you can't hold me back.
I love Christmas cooking, writing out cards and messages to friends who aren't seen as often as they should be, wrapping presents, Christmas church services, getting out the decorations, buying gifts, Christmas parties...
I've lost the love. I need to find some enthusiasm for the sake of William. He is really starting to understand the concept of Christmas so everything Christmas related is terribly exciting. I obviously love seeing him fascinated with Christmas decorations, or Christmas songs, stories of Santa Claus and he is the reason that I am able to get through it all.
I discussed my feelings about this festive season with my counsellor at the hospital. She asked me "what does Christmas mean to you?" - well for me, it is all about family. Spending time together. Making memories, keeping traditions. Maybe that is why I am finding it especially hard. The new part of our family that we were all looking forward to, is missing from our Christmas time. I feel angry about this. My son should be unwrapping his first presents, being utterly spoiled by family and friends, maybe even having a taste of his first Christmas dinner. Instead, we will be visiting his grave side and bringing small gifts to him there.
She said what about the baby Jesus? Do I find that reminder hard? For once, I don't find the baby association hard. I may do closer to Christmas when I go to church for the carol service and nativity plays. I remember in years gone by, finding the words of the readings about Mary giving birth and her pregnancy especially poignant after I had William. I felt the magic of motherhood in the Christmas story. Now I can't feel any magic. Just emptiness. My body betrayed me. My stupid body grew my placenta abnormally, and caused this horrific event. I like to attend church at Christmas to thank God for all I have in my life. But I don't know if I will this year. The church we held Harry's funeral. Thanking God? I don't feel like thanking God at the moment. It all seems so wrong. Why did this happen to my family? Why is my little boy's body up in the cemetry and his spirit with the angels? Why is it my boy? What have I done to deserve this? All questions I struggle to get my head around. I believe everything happens for a reason, and can't fathom the reason behind all this grief. Not just mine, either.
I decorated the Christmas tree yesterday, to try to encourage some festive cheer in myself. I always love it, and I did love it but with each decoration I faught back the tears. We have a huge part of our Christmas missing, and I almost feel wrong wanting to celebrate this time of year, when I should be missing Harry. Christmas focuses so much on the children and it is a reminder again that there is a child missing out on a wonderful day. I found William's special tree decoration; a blue one with "baby's first christmas" written on it. I found it so hard to place that one on the tree, as I couldn't help thinking that this should be for Harry this year. This is so much harder than I imagined it would be. I have seen a lovely silver Christmas tree decoration that you can use hand prints from your little one on, with their name on that I would like. Probably for next year as, being silver, they aren't cheap. I don't want Harry to be forgotten during Christmas, and he obviously won't be, but I think I would to include Harry in our Christmas traditions going forward.
I haven't bought any presents yet and therefore haven't wrapped any. Mainly due to budget constraints, but also due to the fact that if I start Christmas shopping, then I will be accepting Christmas, and I feel odd about that. I have bought some cards but haven't found the motivation to write them. Usually my cards would have a little run down of my year, maybe some photographs. I don't really feel much like doing that this year. Everyone on my Christmas list knows about Harry, but I feel like this year has been so strange and bizarre, that I don't fancy writing about it, in a cheery way.
I read a lovely blog called "Hello Grief" which has lots of really helpful ideas to those grieving. I read one idea about Christmas which helped me:
I love all these ideas, and think that a lot of these will be really good ways of remembering Harry during our Christmas period.
I know that Christmas can be really hard at the best of times, but this year (along with thinking of Harry) my thoughts will be with all those families with an empty seat at the table, through death or separation. It is so hard but I hope that it will bring everyone closer, in everyone's journey through this painful time.