Waiting on Grief at Christmas

Christmas is over, the new year is here, and I’m still waiting for grief to make her appearance. I have learned to embrace grief because she reminds me how important Bella was to me. In her absence, the reminder of love is replaced with guilt. I don’t understand why grief has remained absent this holiday season.

I knew it would be a different kind of Christmas this year, quieter than usual. Our focus was on our little family as it was our first Christmas that we were all together. It was Aria’s first Christmas and it was also our first Christmas with my youngest step-son. It was a beautiful love-filled day and seeing the excitement on the kids faces along with witnessing the love they have for one another was magical.

Christmas Day was also the anniversary of our engagement. Last year, Tom changed the meaning of Christmas for me by asking me to marry him. Christmas is now a day we celebrate us, our love, and the beautiful life we are creating together.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I surprised myself by founding joy in the little things. I enjoyed buying gifts for the kids every time I went into a store and I actually enjoyed wrapping gifts this year, something I used to find great pleasure in but haven’t enjoyed at all since Bella left.

Maybe this is a sign of healing. I am no longer certain that I can predict my grief, and even with this guilt that I feel, it’s much easier to deal with than a broken heart.

In the midst of grief, it may seem as though you will never find joy again. Christmas is an especially difficult time for anyone grieving as it is a time we focus on our family and when someone important is missing, it’s impossible to let it go! It’s a sad time for many…

But I’m here to offer hope. The holidays don’t have to be difficult forever!

For me, it was about finding a different focus at Christmas. Yes, Bella is missing in the physical sense, but her presence remains strong. She was playing with her sisters toys often throughout the holidays and we were often awoken in the middle of the night with a song coming from the toys in the living room. One night, the toys were rotating and as one song would end, another toy would begin playing a different song. This went on for quite some time. These occurrences remind us that Bella is still here.

For loss-parents (or anyone grieving) some days will be about survival and the focus will be getting through one moment at a time. But not every day will always be difficult. Not every Christmas will be difficult either. I’m thankful I have found another focus at Christmas and I hope that anyone who had a difficult holiday season this year can find a new focus next year.

As for my guilt, I understand that my lack of sadness cannot diminish the love I feel for Bella. It also doesn’t take away from how much I miss her and wish she was here. By accepting my reality and choosing to live a life of happiness, I am making myself and my family a priority. I’m sure grief will visit soon enough, but rather than try to understand her absence, I choose to accept and embrace this joy I feel. I’m certain that Bella doesn’t want me to feel sadness. She reminds me that “love heals,” and I am so blessed to be surrounded by love.

This morning I lay in bed thankful that Christmas is over. I wasn’t expecting it to be so difficult, but I should have known better. We had plans and I was excited about them. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and it left me with 2 empty spaces in my heart where 2 rainbows should have been. 
We weren’t the only family who struggled this Christmas. It seems that many friends had their own struggles this year. 2014 has been a trying year for many. It’s almost over but I have mixed feelings about it coming to an end. In saying goodbye to the worst year of my life, I’m also saying goodbye to the year I created the happiest memories with my children. Another year is just more proof that you can’t stop time. 
I lost Bella 6 months ago tomorrow. It doesn’t hurt any less. Actually, I’m decreasing my medication and it hurts much more these days because I can actually feel the pain. I need this to happen if I want healing to occur. I need to feel the pain. I felt it strongly this Christmas and cried for hours, and was then exhausted from the emotional release. I felt guilty about it but this is progress and it’s what I needed to do. I’m tired of waiting for the right moment to break down.
I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who love and support me. My family means everything to me and they are here to hold me up when I struggle to breathe. I got through it though. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. Today I celebrate that! I survived the most difficult Christmas ever! 
Next Christmas will different. If you want things to be different, it’s up to you to do things differently. So right now we will plan and do what needs to be done in order to create a different kind of Christmas next year. At least I know that it will be better than the one we just had.


First Christmas in Heaven

My heart feels heavy. I can’t breathe. I don’t know who I was trying to kid when I said Christmas would be okay. Of course it’s not okay. Nothing is okay right now. 
I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on Boxing Day. I want it to be over with. It’s the first year that I didn’t enjoy wrapping gifts. It’s the first year I want to seclude myself. It doesn’t even feel like Christmas.
I’m sending love and prayers out to all the angel parents, especially those who are celebrating Christmas for the first time without our children. 
I feel blessed to have my son to force me to experience Christmas this year. Because of him, I need to push through these feelings of hopelessness. We all need to #StayStrong❤️
Merry Christmas in Heaven, Bella. Mommy aches for you… 💔