Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ghosts of Christmases Past

Without question, Christmas brings back memories for so many people, our kids included. But for us moms it does too.

We decorated our tree this week bringing out ornaments from my own childhood, ornaments that the boys brought with them from St. Louis when they joined our family, ornaments that have been gifts over the years from friends and family. Silly preschool and primary ornaments always take center stage on our tree.

And then we brought out THE ornament.

There is nothing overly fancy about this ornament. It appears to be a simple blue ball with a place to slide a picture into. The face smiling out is a baby girl wearing a Santa Hat. You might notice a button on the back, and if you press that button you would hear the voices of 6 children wishing you a Merry Christmas. Yes, 6. Our 4 boys, our precious Baby J and her uncle that was also with us two Christmases ago.

Last year, putting up THAT ornament caused me to sit on the corner of the couch and weep for hours, eventually just putting myself to bed with a "headache". This year, the tears came, but not enough to ruin the entire evening. But the ache is constant. The memories are constant. Memories of a Christmas season that was so much fun and so full of hope, yet with a beginning of a shadow looming over us all. I think, deep down, maybe I knew the pain that was to come.

And come it did. And now, those Ghosts of Christmas Past bring good memories, painful memories and a remembrance of one who is missing.
But you know, all those tears are worth it to have that ornament on the tree. I can't imagine my life without the pain and joy that were that time of my life. But God knows how hard it is.

This is the only "family" picture of all 7 of us from that Christmas I have. I found it on my husband's company website several months later when the mere sight caused a week of emotional breakdowns. We have innumberable pictures of the kids from that season, or J and I, or Shel and J but this is the only picture of us all. It means alot.


Jenny said...

There is no ghost quite like that of a missed child, especially at Christmas. I won't say it gets better, but it does get easier to handle the pain. HUGS.

Anonymous said...

last nite i finally took down all the old pics on our photo cupboard- you know the one. :)
it was particularly painful to take off one certain smiling baby J... looking into her eyes, seeing her sitting in the grass, knowing she was so loved and safe. Jen- my heart breaks for you. i really thought she'd be back. can't understand it!
just thought you might want to know others remember too... and i'm so sorry that you're hurting. reading your blog gives me insight into the true jen- thanks for sharing your heart and pain.
hugs and love-cb
PS you don't need to post this, it's mainly for you anyways. :)

Unknown said...

CB ((((( thank you ))))) It means more than you can imagine to me that you wrote that. That someone who knew US and knew her said something. Thank You. And its really gone? I will miss coming into your house and seeing her face there :). Don't forget to keep praying for her.

Jen said...

grief is one of those things that we can not predict the length of nor determine how much it will hurt. Your last post struck a never with me and my heart goes out to you. I pray that her "mother" loves her half as much as you do.