I am absolutely wrecked from our week away at Grandma and Grandpa’s this year for Christmas, and by all of the tears and meltdowns exhibited earlier this week from Ethan and Megs, I can safely say that they are too!!
We have had a great Christmas, but it was good to be home for a breather for a couple of days (Monday/Tuesday) before the new years antics and to be able to sit and listen to the kiddos as they played with their new toys and figured out the vibe of their rooms with the new additions. It was a beautiful sound for a mother to hear of joy and contentment!
Christmas has been surprisingly lovely despite how I was feeling leading up to it…Like most bereaved parents, it is a time of year we (I) dread, as it highlights who is missing, what you are missing and carries with it a little cloud of sadness despite the wonders and magic of the season. I really found this years build up especially hard to face and as a result I didn’t hang any of our stockings, I only did half of the gift shopping until Christmas eve and wrapping again waited until the night before! I didn’t go to Poppy’s grave and I didn’t have the energy to do or make half of what I had hoped. We had some lovely moments yes, but it wasn’t what I imagined, it wasn’t what I planned and its been another great big learning curve as I accept that that’s actually okay and is by no means a reflection of failure or “bad parenting”, its just the way it is as a bereaved parent at Christmas time (at the moment).
I am glad though that we decided to go to families this time, as we contemplated doing our own thing for the 1st year, but I don’t think that we are there yet (maybe next year?)! It was wonderful that we were able to play games and engage in conversation and laughter for hours on end. It was great to rest whilst the kids had fun with Aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, and it was nice to get the odd hug off a brother in law or reassuring arm rub from a sister in law, when they saw the sadness filling up in my eyes! I fought with Nath as he tried to bond over the play station and Fifa with me and I loved all of the wonderful gifts that came our way, and opportunities for us as a couple to have some time out for ourselves to the cinema and shopping!
Christmas was a happy time for us all this year and it was nice that I let myself feel that, and that when the tears came Christmas night, that I let myself feel that too; this is my new normal now, the joy mixed in with the sadness…the appreciating mixed in with the missing and it being okay that sometimes I go to her grave and sometimes I don’t. These aren’t things to be embarrassed about or to feel guilty about, or to be ridiculed over, they are natural parts of the journey of loss just as sometimes baby things, events, holidays and celebrations are bearable and joyful, and sometimes they are things I want to avoid as they can trigger pain and sadness and I am just learning to go with it, feel it, let it wash over me and then make the most of the joyful seasons and moments.
I think that putting expectations and planning too much is unreasonable for this time of year (and other “big” events) and I know that it does me more good, rather to just go with the flow, enjoy and embrace things as they come and live and love in the moment.
I hope as we enter another new year, that I can do this more, and that I can talk about my feelings to others more when I need to; cry when I need to, not be afraid to laugh and be joyful and remember her always.
I hope I can be more of a fun mummy and not just exist and plod along, but make the precious time I have with my living kids count. I do not want to feel guilt for missing her and telling people about her or for having a bad day, nor do I ever want to feel regret for any of those emotions being expressed or shared, because of how they were received. I want to continue in my new normal that I am discovering and appreciate the beauties of life and all around me, be thankful for the blessings we have as well as recognising the sadnesses of life and acknowledging the difficulties that are sometimes present or more dominant in some seasons of it. I hope 2016 is more joyful for our family and strengthens me some more to live it. And I hope that you too can make it count and feel what you need to, when you need to.
Be kind to yourselves and others wherever you are at in life!