Well, we did it. We survived Christmas.
For me the build-up was worse than the day itself. I think it helped that it was just the 3 of us. No forced cheer, just very laid back and honest. I could be present in the moment with my family and enjoy Owen opening his presents, but Noah was acknowledged as well. And that helped. As we sat down to dinner on Christmas Eve, I suddenly felt sad, and couldn’t eat. If we were with other people I would have felt the need to push through it and pretend. But because it was just us, I could do what I needed to. I got up, went and got a candle on the counter near the table and lit it for Noah. Then Dan and I hugged, and I cried for a minute, and then we ate. I didn’t have to explain, or justify, or feel self conscious. We were able to acknowledge Noah and our grief without having to worry about making others uncomfortable.
Dan and I also talked later about what to do the next day to include Noah. Noah’s ashes are on the bookshelf of our room normally, but we decided to bring them down for the day yesterday. That helped. Not just having them there, but also the fact that he had thought about how to include him. That helps more than anything else. Knowing that other people are thinking of him too.
There were a few other people who helped us remember Noah at the holiday. It meant a lot to me when I was reading blogs to see this post from Sioban mentioning Noah and all of our angels. The card we got from Dan’s grandma also said that she was thinking of us and mourning our loss with us. It meant so much. She was the only family to mention and include him.
I was also completely overwhelmed by a package I got. While I was pregnant, I would post on a birth month board for people due in March. After Noah was born, I went back and let them know what happened. I got a message from one person asking for my address to send something. I gave it to them and promptly forgot. I’ve had others (family included) ask and not send anything. It didn’t concern me, even the thought that they wanted to send something was appreciated. (One of those cases that it’s truly the thought that counts.) So when I got a package earlier in the week, in a holiday themed envelope from an address I didn’t recognize, it never occurred to me that it might be from them. MIL had even told me she had ordered something from Etsy, and I just assumed it was that, so I waited to open it until we were opening gifts Christmas morning.
And what a gift. Over a dozen cards, all talking about Noah. It was like everyone was there, remembering him with us. Like he was present with us in that moment. The had also sent an Angel necklace, and a bird necklace. I wear the one with his ashes right now, but there may be a time when I don’t need him with me all the time, and it will be nice to have other necklaces that are more subtle, but are still for him. The also sent giftcards. I was completely surprised and overwhelmed by their generosity. I’ve been wanting to learn to knit or crochet to make micropreemie hats to donate to the hospital for other angel babies in Noah’s memory. So I’m going to go to the sewing store in town to get supplies and get started.
So yes, we survived the first Christmas. In part by being present in our grief and including Noah in our day, and being comforted by those remembering Noah with us.
How did you get through Christmas? Was it as bad, or better than you thought it would be?