This is my third one without my son Eli to celebrate with Nolan and I. The first Christmas I was numb. Nolan had been home from the NICU for only a month and Eli had only died three months earlier. I was struggling to remember to breathe and still trying to heal from a traumatic pregnancy and birth, an extensive c-section and a stressful grief filled hospital stay. I was caring for a medically fragile child and filled with worry. Sometimes getting out of bed was an accomplishment.
The second Christmas, last year, I was rear ended while sitting at a stop light on December 5th. It was a five car accident and I was hurt. I went to the emergency room that night and then went home. Once again, sometimes getting out of bed was an accomplishment. I lived off of pain killers for months. I couldn't lift Nolan up at all. If it wasn't for the help of my mom I don't know how I would have cared for him. Christmas was tough but once again I was numb to the full experience of not having Eli here with us.
This year I have come to realize that this year is going to be the time for me to fully experience the holiday grief. I have been crying regularly and at unexpected times for the past couple of weeks. I know this grief needs to be expressed and released and I want to do that. I will allow myself to cry as I need to and honor my sadness
Within that I need to make sure that I honor the celebrations of the holidays. I love Christmas, always have. I have some amazing memories of Christmas with my family as a child and as an adult. I want to make sure I continue to have those memories for myself and for Nolan
I have chosen to make December a month where I make sure I see the small celebration everyday. And today is December 1st.
This morning I was able to set Nolan's bowl of oatmeal on his tray. I gave him a spoon and with a little help he fed himself. He was so excited to do it he yelled "YAY!" after the first 5-10 times. When I had to step away from his high chair I took his bowl and set it on the table and he threw a fit until I gave it back to him. This is a big celebration because this is the FIRST time he has ever been able to have a bowl of food on his tray and not play in it. His sensory issues would interrupt his eating and it would be almost impossible for him to do this. I am so proud of him! And even better than that he was proud of himself.