The Holidays, 15 Months Later
For some reason, the Christmas holidays this year were more difficult for me without Felicity than last Christmas. Mostly because last year I was in total shock—I was 28 years old and had just buried a child.
In the first couple months after she died, Abraham felt antsy and restless. He just wanted to hit the open road and never look back. I wanted to barricade myself in our house and never get out of my pajamas.
But, we went on a massive road trip at this time last year, making stops in Erie, State College, Newport News, Raleigh, Louisville, and Chicago. And during that time we discovered we were expecting our third child.
Reflecting on last year’s Christmas with Abraham the other day, he said something to the effect of, “Well, if you’re already in a tailspin you might as well go all out.”
Last year, I felt cut loose, spinning out of control, unable to focus on anything. This year the pain has had time to soak into my heart. I’m a different person.
She would be fifteen months old now. She’d probably be doing that clumsy, half-drunk walking that you capture with a video camera. And she’d have been scolded endlessly for being all up in the Christmas tree.
In some ways this felt like the first Christmas without her. This is the first year we’d have bought her presents and she’d have learned the joy of ripping wrapping paper and finding the delightful surprises inside. Maybe I’d have bought her her first baby doll.
Losing a child who never lived on earth means all your “memories” really aren’t memories at all—they’re just a bunch of imaginings and what-ifs.
All these imaginings and what-ifs make Christmas a really hard time for me, and probably for all the other mothers in the Living Without Children Club.
Losing a child means you lose more than a child. For me this Christmas it meant I’ve lost a little of the sparkle and delight, a little of the zeal and wonder.
That’s not to say there weren’t joys through these last days. It’s just that there are no more pure joys for me, it seems. There’s a heavy weight that I pull along through all my joys now, like a loaded-down sled through thick, wet snow.