Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas night but we are not actually celebrating Christmas until tomorrow so our mental calendars are a little off. Ask me what day of the week it is right now and I will not be able to answer without a pause.

We hope you all have had a blessed Christmas and that you have thoroughly enjoyed some quality family time. We are with my family in Montana right now and are thankful to be surrounded by such a supportive and thoughtful family. Both sides of our family have done so much for us over the last year that we could not possibly say thank you enough. I found it so hard to shop for Christmas presents this year. Checking items off on a wish list wasn't enough this year - I wanted to get something more than a shirt or a book for those I love. As mentioned previously, our decision-making has taken a hit over the last couple months and though I thought that effect may have worn off by now, I was quickly reminded that it has not! Deciding on Christmas gifts this year when I had already determined I couldn't make shopping any easier by following someone's list was next to impossible! After all my shopping, I couldn't find anything that would have said everything I wanted to say in a gift so I settled for something that would remind them either of how much we love them, or of the value of joy in family.

We have filled Drew's stocking with something of significance for each member of the family here with us and I am looking forward to and yet feeling some sadness over that moment. How I wish my little boy was here opening his own stocking with our eager assistance. I wish he was here trying to get in his brother's hair and puttering around checking all the activity out. I would love to see what his fascination would be - bows, paper, boxes, the items inside, or just studying all the things happening. If I know my little Drew I think he would be studying everything going on, watching Peyton closely, and finding thrills in the Christmas lights. If he was here, I would have a big mylar balloon ready for him to see first thing Christmas morning. As it is, I will tell him "Good morning my precious Drew" before Peyton pulls us upstairs in his youthful excitement and I will find joy in both moments, different as each moment will be.

At this Christmas, there is nothing I can put on a wish list other than my unspoken wish... Thank you God for my family - I can ask for nothing else.

(Drew, I miss you baby. Thank you God for keeping my baby close and for sharing yours.)

May you all have a holiday that refreshes the heart!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the mood for Christmas?

Memories of Christmas - Hopes for the future

This was Peyton and Drew last Christmas.

Daddy and his boys at Christmas

Grandad with cousin Lincoln and Drew at the holidays last year

Quality cuddle time over the holidays last year

Many of our friends have expressed concern over how our Christmas and holiday season will go - here are some of my thoughts on Christmas without Drew.

Christmas this year has taken on a totally different meaning.  I have never been so comforted by the Christmas season, though it has many more emotions attached to it than ever before.  This sounds strange I'm sure, but listening to the familiar songs that I have listened to for so many years and following the same traditions as years past I am finding an unimagined comfort in those things.  It feels like a throwback to a more innocent time, where everything was fixed with a hug and life was not so complicated.  It feels as though I am temporarily transported out of this situation, even though the awareness of our loss is never far off.  
Am I afraid of what Christmas will be like without Drew?  Not really I guess.  We still have so much to be thankful for and Peyton provides so much joy.  He is really into Christmas this year and his excitement is heart-warming.  
I think the reason Christmas is challenging for those of us who have lost loved ones is because of two possible reasons - 1) the memories one will have to face of Christmases past, and 2) unmet expectations of Christmases to come.  Drew was so little last year that he pretty much slept through Christmas so we don't have too many memories of him connected to Christmas.  As such, I don't think that the "memories" will be the hard part, but rather the unmet expectations.  I am sure we will inevitably think about what it would have been like to have him toddling around on Christmas Day, how could I not?!  He would be almost 17 months old and if he followed typical toddler stages, he would be walking around, getting into things, starting to try to say words, following his big brother everywhere, trying to shake boxes that shined and to reach any ornaments in sight, and eager for any new experience.  That is the hard part for me - thinking about what we will miss this Christmas, and even more, thinking about what Peyton is missing.  He still misses Drew so much!

One of our dear friends just brought by the best Christmas gift I could have ever asked for last night.  She painted a portrait of our dear little Drew and it's so lifelike and captures his personality so well that I feel as if I could pick him up off the canvas.  He smiles at us so engagingly that it feels he is here in the room.  I am sure God used her talent to bless us with a small piece of our Drew and I am so thankful.  I will take that through this season and love him through loving Jordan, Peyton and those He brings us during this season, and through sending my love to him.  (I still welcome him every morning and fall asleep leaving him in God's arms every night.)  I am so thankful for God's faithfulness in the midst of crisis.

To all those reading, thank you for reading.  I am honored that you would take the time to visit us this way.  It provides a support unseen, but felt.  We hope you have a blessed holiday season and whatever your traditions, we pray God will bring your family closer through it.