Those loss families that had given us warning that the holidays would be even harder, were right.
When you are already experiencing such deep emotion and all the sadness involved with the loss of your child, it’s almost unbelievable to think you could possibly be any sadder.
And then it is. They weren’t kidding.
I’ve kept my head barely above water the last few weeks. We made it through Thanksgiving with flying colors, then rounded the bend to Gina’s 40th, and began to crumble. Her 40th birthday- such a milestone and this big marker for her. He was supposed to be a part of that. Waking up that day without him was hard for both of us, but my heart ached for my wife, from the bottom of my heart all the way through the back of my throat.
I finished my last day of work in 2013, and as I sat at my desk looking at the same space I had looked the previous year, I thought back to what was going through my head when I left my last day of work in 2012.
2013 was going to be amazing and so full of love for Luca, and that I couldn’t wait to meet him.
And Monday, when I was getting ready to leave, all I could do was swallow back my tears, straighten out my desk a bit, and run out the door.
No baby to run home to. No talk around the water cooler on what he was getting for his first christmas, or laughing about this year’s holiday card we had handed out with him in it with his head inside Jackson’s mouth. Not one mention of him. Not anything like I thought this year would be like.
In most of my daily life situations it feels like he never even existed; that’s one of the hardest parts of my days in this new life of mine. Strangers don’t know, and many that do know are so uncomfortable with his death themselves, that they avoid bringing it up.
And, well. The holidays add another dimension to the hurt. I’ve lost my son, and that’s the biggest hurt I have ever felt. But the loss goes beyond those days back in March.
It’s 2:00 in the morning now, on Christmas day. I’ve wrapped all of Gina’s gifts, and there is nothing left to put pretty paper or bows on. For anyone else. I didn’t get to buy any toys for my son.
I am not up for a night feeding, I’m up to write about this experience, about how it feels to be a parent without a child on their first holiday.
It’s heart breaking. To be where I’m sitting right now, is the most painful feeling I’ve ever experienced. The tears, they blur my vision, making me rely on the memory of the keys on the keyboard to help me put these feelings down. I want to scream. I want someone, anyone, to tell me that it’s going to get better, that Luca will always be with us, that Luca will always be remembered, and that someday soon, we will get to be parents to living children.
That I have to be that specific and say ‘parents to living children’ is a testimony to this new person I’ve become because, you see, I asked to be a parent, I asked to have a child. And I got that.
But maybe I wasn’t specific enough for the universe? Maybe I was supposed to ask for a living child. Perhaps I was too assumptive that babies are born and grow from little humans, to bigger humans, and just because I got pregnant and carried my first child to full term, that I was actually going to be sitting here on his first Christmas, staring lovingly at this son of mine, wondering how his next fifty-something Christmas’ would be.
I’ve learned, that unfortunately, that’s just not how it is.
I sit here by myself on Christmas morning, just 9 1/2 months after Luca was born, and now I know that it is just not how life works sometimes.
Let this day bring some joy alongside the grief, and may Gina and I awaken tomorrow with another milestone under our belts, and some more hope in our sails.