This holiday season has been both wonderful and terrible. Momma's heart doesn't know how to process the joy of The Pickle's first Christmas against the heart-wrenching fact that you aren't here for what should be your fourth Christmas. Add to that the horrific events in Connecticut and it just leaves Momma wondering...how do we celebrate authentically without bitterness in our hearts?
For our family, I believe hosting a separate celebration for you - for your Peanut Tree - has been essential. It allows us to honor you during this season, show our grief and share memories on a day that is not Christmas. It also opens the door to talk about you. So by Christmas day our friends and family aren't so worried about uttering your beautiful name. Connor. Peanut. To share their funny memories of you. To remember an outfit, a toy, an expression...and to recognize something similar in your brother.
I know it scares all of us to think about the next few weeks. In 2010 and 2011 these were the weeks leading up to your death...little did we know. Everyone is now watching The Pickle with hyper-sensitie eyes. What is that cough? That runny nose? But, here's what I know. The Pickle has a guardian angel who got him through a bout with RSV last week with flying colors. An angel named Peanut, his big brother.
Momma wonders if the families in Newtown, CT are feeling the presence of their angels. Are they seeing the signs that were so important to Momma and Dadda in the months after you passed away?
I wonder how this holiday season has felt for those families. Are presents still wrapped, waiting patiently for tiny hands to open them? Will those same presents remain wrapped for days, weeks...years? Will future gifts be purchased by grief-striken parents who just want their children back home in their arms? <sigh> Momma still buys little gifts for you, items I think you would enjoy or that remind me of you. Sometimes they wind up in your special Peanut trunk, sometimes they get donated to charity. But they always soothe Momma's heart.
Today I choose to remember your sunshine smile, your musical laughter, and the joy and love you opened in my heart. Today I send that love to the families torn apart by tragedy and loss...I send them the strength to walk through the fire of their grief, to stare it in the face, and to wake up each day and put one foot in front of the other.
Today - like every day - I send you my fierce Momma love. How much love? To the moon, Peanut - and back.
|Peanut and Dadda, the week before Christmas 2009.|