One of the first things I remember doing after I found out I was pregnant with Charlotte was calculate my due date and as I realized we would expecting a Christmas baby, my mind began to wonder what magic the holidays would hold as we saw things through this new baby's eyes.
Unfortunately, we didn't get that chance with our baby girl.
Just a few days after Charlotte’s passing, we found ourselves at a family gathering to celebrate Christmas. While we chose to attend, in hopes that surrounding ourselves with loved ones would be better than being alone, the pain of it all was still in the forefront of our minds as we realized that instead of celebrating our child's first holiday, we were mourning the first one without her.
Since then, each holiday has looked pretty similar to that Christmas (food, people, gifts), even down to the same question I ask myself, over and over again, as I watch everyone celebrate the occasion – what would this day look like if Charlotte was still with us?
Sometimes, I wonder about the special outfit(s) we would have dressed her in. Or the joy I would feel as our family doted all over her. But honestly, most of the time I just find myself thinking about holding her in my arms. Watching her take in the surroundings. Experiencing the magic I had as a child. And the realization that I'll never be able to share that with her devastates me.
Sure, it’s only been a few months so I don’t claim to have it all figured out (in fact, I know I don't), but a few of the things that I have found necessary in order to now attend holidays or family gatherings have been:
- Having a compassionate family who knows when a hug means more than words;
- Finding a quiet place to escape to when things become too much;
- And, if all else fails, turning my worries, sadness, and anxious thoughts over to God.
Pretty simple, right?
To most, probably. And to others, it might seem better to just hide away and avoid these situations all together. But as someone who loves her family and doesn't want to watch as life passes her by, these simple tasks have truly saved me at the last few family gatherings, while still allowing me room to process if needed.
I don't believe the sadness over losing Charlotte will ever go away and that's just something I will have to accept. Ever since December 21, 2012, life has looked different in every way and that won't change. However, I do hope & pray that future family gatherings, especially holidays, will slowly become easier and something maybe I'll look forward to someday..