I thought, I really did, that in some way the new girls would fill the hole left by her absence. They don't. They are loved equally in a way that is every bit as rich and as deep as the love we had for her, but we miss her. They are not her. The space in our family is uniquely Jazzy sized.
This season is hard and I have written about it before. Everywhere is tinged with memories of THAT Christmas. The Christmas we shared with her. And I know, or hope, that she is having a wonderful Christmas somewhere else today. But I miss her.
I put her dress on another baby today. Another baby of mine. To take to the same event that I took her. In the same place, on the same night except it's exactly three years apart.
My arms were full of my baby girls and I was surrounded by my sons and I felt her absence. Across the building from me sat the woman who took her away. There she sat. Angry, sad and alone. The baby, my baby, now her little girl, absent from both of us tonight. By her choice, by my lack of choice.
I wonder if the girls feel it at times. Miss Curious knows her by name, but only in pictures. "Azzy and Aden" she says pointing at the picture on the fridge of Jazzy and Caden. She wears a hat out to play in the snow that the boys still call Jazzy's. They wear her clothes, I don't want the memory of her loss to tinge my freedom to love these girls, but it does. The pain is too real, the memory of the agony too fresh. The real fear that one day, one Christmas, I will be grieving for them too presses in on me. I am not sure I can survive it again.
But we make new memories. Two babies wearing their Santa Dresses to the Christmas Concert. Two babies staring in awe at the tree. I miss Jazzy. I miss Christmas Past, but I will enjoy Christmas Present.