Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas ups and downs

It's been awhile since my last post. Just didn't have much to share, or nothing new to say I guess. Now we're getting pretty close to Christmas, thing are busy as they always seem to get around this time of year, and I thought I'd pull some thoughts together on here.
We're a fresh-Christmas-tree family, so we headed over to Home Depot the first week of December and got us this nice little tree. Last year our tree was a bit large for our apartment, or for the ceiling I guess. We had to cut several inches off the top and yet the star was still scrunched up against the ceiling, a bit crooked if I remember too. It's a fun memory. This year the tree is the perfect height and fits nicely next to the fire place. What I like about this tree are these funny random little branches that stick out here and there (like a real tree is supposed to have) that must have been hiding when the chain saw shaped this tree into it's Christmas tree shape. Once we got it home and gave it a day to relax and let loose a bit, they came popping out. And so they were the perfect place to put these adorable little clip-on birds (photo forthcoming) who look like they were just flitting by and decided to land on these nice little branch-perches :)

My favorite thing to do at Christmas is simply sit on the couch with my hubby, turn on the Christmas lights, turn off all the other lights, play some Christmas tunes and snuggle and enjoy the magical, twinkly glow. Ever since I was little that's been my favorite thing (ok, minus the snuggling with my husband part, since that only came into the picture 2 years ago). It's the ultimate relax, unwind, soak up the moment, enjoy what's happening type of experience for me. So, we've been trying to do lots of that, with some of my hubby's hot chocolate with peppermint schnapp's and various sugary treats added in. Mmmm!

Last weekend we went to see Handel's Messiah. This is our tradition in the making, as this is our second year to attend. We hope to go each year if possible. It's held at various locations each year and this year we got tickets for the performance at St. Mary's Basilica in downtown Phoenix. I classically mis-read the directions for downtown and had Ryan driving us in the complete opposite direction for awhile, thus we got there just in the nick of time and had to sit in the very back. I was very frustrated at myself because this meant we couldn't see any of the orchestra, save for the occasional violin bow poking up in to the air. Ryan had to tell me multiple times to stop complaining about this situation and just enjoy it. And I did. Since we couldn't see the orchestra (we could however see the choir just fine so that was nice) what really made the experience great was the church. This place was amazing!!! It's the oldest Catholic church in Phoenix, at 100 years old. The domed ceilings and soaring Roman columns were awe-inspiring (statues of Jesus and various saints: sorta creepy, but oh well). Take a look:

It didn't feel like something you'd encounter in Phoenix so it felt like we were somewhere else for awhile. It was the perfect setting for music such as Messiah. I always cry at the chorus to "For unto us a child is born":  "Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!!!" It has such a powerful build up and then it just explodes in praise to Jesus! To top off the night perfectly, just as we walked out the doors of the church the bells rang out nine o'clock. A church with real bells that really chime on each hour! Imagine that in Phoenix!!

As you may suspect by now, if you've been reading the last few blog entries, you'll know that I think about our baby all the time. Still. So, even during the warmth and festivities and Advent reflections of Christmas, the sadness and grief and loss are with me. I got several books from the library recently about dealing with pregnancy loss and it helped to read about the grieving process and what can be "typical" experiences in that. They say that the bulk of the grieving takes place in the first year. And they describe the process as being more like a spiral at times that can take you forward, but then spin you right back to where you started, but then take you forward again, and so on. It's just not a methodical, calculated, one foot in front of the other each day type of process. And that's been my experience. It's always interesting to read something that so clearly captures exactly what you've been experiencing, thinking, feeling. Parts of some books have done that, but especially blogs of other baby-loss moms and other accounts of pregnancy and infant loss. It helps us all know that we're not going crazy because we're all experiencing so much of the same feelings and thoughts. But it's too sad that there are so many women out there who share this experience. Too, too many.

But my point in bringing this up is that as I've gotten reconnected with friends at church and gotten a few messages from some dear ladies I am asked the question "How are you doing?" It's always very sensitive and with emphasis like "how are you really doing" and comes from women who genuinely want to care for me in this area. I feel loved by that question and so appreciate their reaching out with those words. But I'm realizing that I just have the same answer to that question over and over, even close to three months later. I usually say that it has it's ups and downs. Our lives are carrying on, but it's steadily here, part of everything I do.

I don't know when I'll have a different answer to that question. It's hard and it's sad and my heart hurts so badly and it's constantly on my mind. It's not "getting better" or starting to fade away. Part of me still isn't ready for it to fade and I don't think actually that it will ever feel better. So as long as these friends are willing to ask that question, I'll keep giving them my honest answer, even if it's the same answer for a long time.

Sundays are especially hard for me. I guess it's the pregnant ladies in the group, the parents kissing on their little ones, announcements of new pregnancies etc. This past Sunday Chris preached about Mary and Elizabeth's pregnancies and I was surprised that there was a little twinge in my heart. I guess any time the word pregnant pops up, even if it's part of a Bible story, my heart aches a bit. Standing right in front of us were two fathers holding their littles, who were sweetly resting their heads on their daddy's shoulders. Ryan asked me last night how I had felt during church, knowing these different things were going on. When I asked him the same question he said that was hard for him to see those dads. It made him think of our baby.

And that's the part of the spiral that takes me right back to the sad place. The gaping loss. The constant reminder of what was and what is not any longer. We want our baby back.

So, to pull together the different pieces of this post- we're really enjoying the Christmas season, taking time to soak it up and celebrate the depth of the Advent together- and through it all our baby is on our minds. Almost three months and it's all still very present with us.


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