Holiday Letter to Lucy

Dear Lucy,

It has been almost seven months since I last held you. We just spent our first Halloween and Thanksgiving without you.

Halloween was much more difficult than I expected. I knew it would be hard. The one Halloween I spent with you was so special. I didn’t really care for Halloween before I had children. But I was so excited after you and Max were born. I spent hours picking the perfect ladybug costume for you last year. And then I turned around and bought a strawberry costume at Old Navy! I almost bought every baby girl Halloween costume at Old Navy, but I exercised SOME restraint. I found occasion for you to wear both costumes, but the ladybug costume was your official costume for the big day. My bumblebee costume was a happy coincidence. I didn’t mean to dress us both as insects, but it worked out well.

Halloween isn’t thought of as a sentimental holiday. I thought Christmas would be the worst. But Halloween is the most child-centered. It’s a holiday specifically for children. And Halloween was the last holiday we had before we found out you were so ill. You were hospitalized within days of your first Halloween.

I thought I was doing fine until the afternoon of Halloween. Suddenly, while I was on the treadmill, I experienced an intense desire to stop Halloween. I couldn’t let it happen without you. I cried. But I knew I had no choice. I put on my devil horns and tail (Max insisted on a costume and I couldn‘t bring myself to wear the bumblebee costume again yet.) and went trick-or-treating with Max and Chris. It was very hard, but I made it through several hours for Max’s sake. After we got home, I went up to your closet, got out the Pebbles costume I bought for your second Halloween, the Halloween pajamas you wore last year, and your strawberry costume, held them, and cried.

After that, I was apprehensive for Thanksgiving. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I had a moment that morning of not wanting to go downstairs. Chris and Max were already down there and I wanted to pretend you were with them. Again, I didn’t want the holiday to happen without you. But it had to.

Now, we move on to Christmas. I have always loved Christmas so. Surprisingly, the Christmas decorations are not depressing me. It wasn’t depressing to get out our tree and begin to decorate. The first sight of Halloween decorations hurt me, but the Christmas ones have not yet. I did feel sadness at going to the Driskill tree without you. I wish we had taken you while we had the chance. I felt a pang at taking Max to see Santa without you. I wish we had done that while we had the chance. I know those things aren’t what matters. But I wish you had the chance to do those things. I’m not sure why we didn’t. I guess we were worried about germs, since you were sick. And babies are often scared of Santa and Max definitely was last year.

I think part of the reason Christmas isn’t hitting as hard as I thought is that Christmas was sad for me last year. I tried so hard to be happy and excited and give you and Max a good Christmas. I think we did and I have good memories from it. But I was so sad that you were sick. We were told a week before Christmas last year that they didn’t think you would get better after all. They thought it would be a chronic condition. I was naïve as to what that meant at that time. The doctors put a positive spin on it and pediatric cardiomyopathy CAN be very variable. But I felt so foolish later for being so sad over a chronic condition.

I can’t know what the day will be like until it gets here. I just know that I will miss you very much, as I do every day. I know I have endured a sad Christmas, haunted by the knowledge I might lose one of my children. One of my memories from last Christmas is of sitting on our front step one night a few days before Christmas and crying, begging God not to take you from me. Part of me felt like I was being over-dramatic at the time. I thought I didn’t really have to worry about you possibly dying for years. But even that was too soon. I don’t know what to make of the fact that He did take you, except that I have come to believe that God doesn’t take people. It doesn’t seem right, but it was your time last May. I don’t think you wanted to leave us or that God chose to take you. For whatever reason, that was your fate. A biological process had been set in motion that couldn’t be stopped. And, if there is a God, He is saddened for us and does what He can to comfort us when those things happen. He doesn’t cause them and He doesn’t allow or stop them.

I got off on a tangent there. But I have endured a sad Christmas and I know I can do it again, even the unfixable sadness of not having you here. Hopefully, like Thanksgiving, it will be easier than I think. J

Another reason I believe Christmas isn’t depressing me so much is that it really is providing light in the darkness. It is the end of the year, the darkest time of the year. It is the end of the most intense year of my life. When I had the D&C last August, I was seriously ready for 2013 to be over. Recently, I have had mixed feelings about letting it go. I don’t want to leave the year in which I last held you. This year has been so hard, but it has taught me so much.

Last week, as I drove around and saw the Christmas lights going up, I remembered that Christmas is intended to provide light in the darkness. I know it is not that way for everyone. But the pagan festivals that lent some of their traditions to Christmas, if I remember correctly, were all about providing light and warmth and community at the darkest time of the year. They were about reminding ourselves that the light would come back. Christmas seems to be about that in the religious and secular senses as well, even today. We think about what matters. We give to others. We gather together. We fill the long nights with light and cheer. It’s not perfect. Not everyone likes it. It doesn’t make everyone feel better. But this year, I hope that this Christmas really does symbolize that the light will come back and that a new, happier year is dawning for our family and everyone else’s.

It does feel wrong somehow to call 2013 unhappy, though. How can a year in which we had you be unhappy? Life is confusing, kiddo. J

I miss you, baby. I keep trying to imagine what you would be like now. I hope you are safe and happy and at peace. Merry Christmas. Tell Santa to bring your brother a Chasin’Cheeky game. He wants it bad. I love you so much.

Love, Mama


1 Comment

  1. Jerry said,

    December 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm


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