When I found out I was going to be a mommy in early December I was so excited to have my baby here for Christmas this year. I planned in my mind all the "First Christmas" ornaments I could get and what I might buy for presents. Plus, I couldn't wait to pick out a stocking that my baby would hang up year after year with ours. I thought about making little ornaments for our family from our baby's hand and footprints as their gifts and began looking up ideas for Christmas keepsakes. My sister was also expecting her first child so my mind started planning all the things Baby Dice would share with a same aged cousin. It was so exciting to imagine having two new babies in the family for Christmas after so many years of no children. Then, our July doctor's visit sent all those dreams spiraling downward along with my plans for the future. It wasn't until after Daniel died that I fully realized I would not have a baby at Christmas. There won't be piles of presents with Daniel's name under the tree or pictures of him hanging his stocking every year. There won't be laughing and cuddling with my newborn son on Christmas morning or yearly pictures with Santa. There won't be countless photos of us with Daniel at Christmas or tears of joy as we sing Silent Night by candlelight at church. And worst of all, there won't be a baby in my arms because Daniel won't be here. My mind has been reeling over this reality and I don't know how to have Christmas without him.
I kept thinking, how could we do anything for Christmas without Daniel? How do we move forward without our son here? How will we make it through his first Christmas without him? I have realized we need to take our days one at a time to survive the grief especially now. Our tradition has always been to get a real tree, but this year we were lucky to get our fake one, that usually goes on our second floor, out at all. My husband and I began to put up the tree in our living room the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but the pain was unbearable. Once we got the tree set up, we were both crying and couldn't continue decorating. The following day we put all the ornaments on and made Daniel a special part of our tree just for him. We are trying to make Daniel a part of our Christmas so we can manage through the pain. We want him to be part of our celebration because he will always be a part of our family. His stocking is hanging between ours and it will be hung there each year. His ornaments are on the tree and we will lovingly place them there every Christmas. I don't honestly know how I will continue on through Christmas this year without Daniel, but I will pray for strength. I will take each day as it comes and have comfort in knowing that Daniel will always be included in our family's Christmas even though it's not the way I dreamed it would be.