it's the most wonderful time of the year....

19 December 2014

From Thanksgiving to New Years the holidays are known as the most wonderful time of the year. A time for family- for giving, for eating, for sharing, for being with loved ones. 
Thanksgiving was rough for me this year- as I expect they will always be to some degree.  This was my third one without Hayden and my first with Hudson. Talk about bittersweet.  I woke up feeling empty and sad. But having a house full of happy people and kids, I tried to mask it. Made my famous (well Trader Joe's famous) pumpkin chocolate chip muffins- a favorite of Jacksons- and a spinach quiche- another tradition. Got Rob up, the oven on, and the bird in without skipping a beat. Then as I stood at my kitchen window attempting to wash the dishes from breakfast I just stood there with the water running over my hands and looked out the window staring at Hayden's garden. Still questioning why he isn't here. Why we didn't get that miracle so many people prayed we would. Why? 
Then the tears couldn't stay back anymore and I stood at the sink sobbing as the noise and laughter of kids surrounded me and announcements of what balloons were up next at the Macy's Day parade in the background. Feeling so incredibly alone and reminding myself that life goes on. It just does. I didn't expect everyone to stop what they were doing and start sobbing with me- their pain isn't that deep and I get it. But it's depressing to feel alone in a house full of people. It's even harder to realize that no one on this planet knows exactly how I feel. Not my husband, not my friends, family- no one. Unless of course you are another mother just like myself and your child was also taken way too soon. Then you too understand that the most wonderful time of the year isn't always so wonderful. I'm realizing it probably never will be since part of me is no longer here. 

I went out to dinner with some friends last week and two of us are mothers. We were chatting about how a mother does nothing in private- nothing. How a father learns to shut and lock the bathroom door but us mothers- we just don't. We may be needed in that 15 seconds- so we don't do it. And how for whatever reason a mother can calm any tear and fear of their childs- even moreso than the father. One of our friends made a comment about how we probably secretly love that we are the ones that the kids always prefer in that sense. How nice it must be. And truly- it is nice. I've thought of this so many times in the last couple of months and years. How Hudson will cry in his crib and the second I pick him up and put him in bed with me he's instantly back to sleep. How just my touch and my smell can comfort him. WOW. The relationship between a mother and her child is something out of a fairytale. It is such a beautiful thing- truly breathtakingly gorgeous. 
The relationship I had with Hayden while he was here was something I have never experienced before and it is difficult to even put into words. It was a love affair like no other. I have two living, beautiful children who I'd give my life in a second for, but when I say the relationship I have with Hayden was like no other- I mean it. His soul was deep, old. He and I would gaze at each other for hours in that hospital. So in love with one another anyone who walked in the room could feel it. It was magical, beautiful- irreplaceable. So I guess it should come as no surprise to me that I feel the pain a little more, a little deeper a little harder than anyone else in this world does. He is a constant on my mind and as much as I wish I could make this time truly the most wonderful time of the year, I just can't 100%. 
But would I change that relationship? Would I change being the mother- the other one on the end of receiving that unconditional, truly magical love. Even though my pain is deeper, harder and stronger than anyone else after loosing Hayden- I wouldn't change one second of it. I got to be the first person he locked eyes with. I held him as he came into this world and as he left it. The pain of loosing him is still and will always be an unimaginable pain that I never knew existed or that one could actually live with, but to be the one true love of his way too short life is a price I am willing to pay- and I bet my fellow angel moms would all agree.  
I am so sad for all us grieving mothers. No one in our lives knows how we are feeling. It took me 2 years and 4 months to truly come to that realization. Somehow we manage to keep trucking along and make the best of it for those we love- our living children, husbands, families, friends. We are mothers.  We make it happen. But its nice to be remembered- even if you don't know that level of pain because your children are still here with you- if you know a grieving mother- try to remember them on a Holiday and a simple message of 'thinking of you' could possibly change the whole outcome of their day and if nothing else- at least it will let them know that even though they feel alone, they aren't. 
After expressing the pain of feeling so alone on Thanksgiving, a friend sent me some ideas to make sure that doesn't happen next Thanksgiving or the next Holiday. The last two years I have struggled with what to put in Hayden's stocking- do we buy him things? Leaving it empty just feels much sadder...This year for Christmas, Rob, Jackson and I will fill Hayden's stocking with pictures we have drawn of things we (or Santa) would have gotten him for Christmas.  We will put them in his stocking this week and then while we open our stockings Christmas night, we will open Hayden's too and remember his life and his place in this family.  And even though I wish this wasn't the way it had to be, I look forward to starting this tradition for Hayden with our family. 
It is my third Christmas without Hayden- and my first with Hudson. Again terribly bittersweet. But having him in our lives definitely bumps up the sweet factor. And even though the holidays are at times unbearably tough, I am a mother. And I will do the best I can to make this the most wonderful time of the year for Jackson, Hudson, Rob, and yes...for myself too. 

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