Christmas 2015 is in the books. We had a full day of time with family, food, and of course gifts. Every year my kiddos receive something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read and something to give to others in need. That helps us as a family to keep perspective on what is important. I am often asked about holidays after loss. Of course everyone is different but for me holidays are not the same, because life is not the same. When Joel was alive life was untainted, the holidays were magical. With him gone I have to fight a little harder for joy in these moments, but fight for it I will.
I don't want to spend Christmas Day, or any day for that matter, in deep mourning for what we've lost. If I let myself I could be that way every day of my life, that is how close to my heart the pain still feels.
I've said this before, you cannot live life fully in the now if you're always looking behind.
Living is present tense, so as hard as it can be we hold our loss close to us as we continually journey forward.
I have my hard and sad moments throughout the holidays of what could've been, what should've been and the thoughts that it's just not fair what is. But I find myself mostly keeping those thoughts to myself and living in the now for my children. They deserve to have as unvarnished and magical of a childhood as possible.
Truth is we live a different life than everyone else around us. We wear a different set of lenses in so many ways. We've walked through things no one can possibly understand. So everything we do and every way we do it, looks different than most other people.
On Christmas Eve our hearts were breaking at the thought of people in the hospital. We've been there and know how difficult it can be. So the kids, myself, our friend and our old nurse all loaded up and headed to the Children's Hospital to leave goodie bags for families and go hug the necks of some of our old nurses. We wanted be amongst the sick and the hurting, because those are the ones who so deeply have our hearts.
This was the first time I've gone back to Ellis' PICU since we left the hospital. The moment we walked through those doors the past quickly came flooding back. The sights, sounds and even the smells brought back so many memories, most of them very difficult to recall.
But yet, I was returning holding a healthy baby girl in my arms. We were there on the other side, as a family loving on other families. In that moment, we were remembering where we've been but also celebrating how far we've come.
That is our life.
That is the world we live in.
Remembering where we've been but celebrating where we are now.
It's an interesting reality to live in, but it's where we are. As time moves forward where we have been will become less painful, but it will always be a part of us and something we carry forward. It molds and shapes us, having been broken to the core but now a better version of who we ever thought we could be.
Joel was missed.
Our past was mourned.
Our current was celebrated.
As for our future? Well...there's so much hopefulness for what's to come there too.
Wishing you lots of love and a very Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!