May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Christmas Family

So I've been feeling this sadness settling in like it does each year right around this time since our first Christmas without Wyatt in 2003.  My mood and temperament noticeably dip so I found myself trying to explain it to my husband last night.  It took alot of nonsensical descriptions before these words came out.

Christmas makes me sad because it's about family and that only reminds me of how incomplete my family is and will always be.  It is the one time of year when my family never seems so incomplete.    I can't say it any better than that.  The boys' birthdays come and go and those days are about them individually and how much I miss each of them.  But Christmas.  Christmas is the time when their presence in our family is so obviously missing to me.  Everyone else in our family (parents and siblings) have all of their children.  I am missing two and I just don't know how not to miss them.  The heart of Christmas, truly the meaning of Christmas is family.  Christmas is the celebration of Christ's birth and the creation of the Holy Family.  It is also the creation of God's own family as he welcomed his only son into this world.  So, you see, any which way you look at it, it's family.  The one thing I value above all else.  My blessed and blessedly incomplete family.

He tried but had no answers.  There are none that I have found over the last ten years since Wyatt's birth.  I don't know that Christmas will ever be the same for me.  It is a very conscious effort to recognize and appreciate the joy that is going on all around me each and every holiday season.  Today I find myself in need of a silent night to spend in quiet reflection and sorrow to make more room for joy from the world tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Up on the Rooftop

Since my post on remembrance I am just bursting at the seams wanting to shout from the rooftop "Remember, remember! My sons are gone".  While all of you (family) are making your holiday preparations all I can think about is the empty chair and high chair at my table.  The unwrapped presents under my tree.  The candles in my window.  Blinking away tears.  Gifts are unimportant, dinner is unnecessary.  What is important:  buying something small for their graves, making sure their Christmas tree lights are lit up at night, getting to and from the wintry cemetery, honoring their memory through a gift of charity, hearing their names.
So I'm up on the rooftop waiting for Santa to deliver me the one miracle that even Santa doesn't have in his bag.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Through a Child's Eyes

This weekend I came face to face, quite literally, with the demons of my adolescence.  My congenitally missing lateral incisors.  As a teenager I endured a five plus years of braces, tooth extractions, retainers, rubber bands and finally dental implants to fill in spaces left where no permanent teeth grew.  (Yet another fun genetic grab bag item in my family).  Friday one of those implants failed me in a big way and let's just put it this way, he is no longer with me.  I'm just a wee bit (translation: super duper enormously) sensitive about walking around missing a tooth right in the front part of my mouth so I was joking with my kids that they will have to put up with pirate mom until a temporary replacement is made.  To which they responded that I was not even a good pirate because they at least have gold teeth.  (Sigh).  Some days I just can't win.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Heart my Heart

Wikipedia defines the heart as "a hollow muscle that pumps blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions.  Gray's anatomy goes on to say "the rhythmical action of the heart is muscular in origin." But most of us probably don't think of the heart in this way.  If we even think of it at all.  That's because the heart goes on beating around 70 beats every minute of every day without any effort from us.  Yet for something so unnoticed, it's role in our lives could not be any more important.

Yet it's still a muscle, one that can be weakened by a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy habits and strengthened through exercise and healthy living.  A healthy heart is a happy heart.  Except that the heart is more than just a blood pumper.  It is a vital organ of emotional health too.  One that just like the beating drum in our chests needs exercise and healthy habits to function optimally.  After Wyatt and Eli's deaths my heart needed a break and so I tucked it away somewhere safe for a while.  I needed to protect it and keep it from any more hurt because I just didn't know how much it could take. 

I learned this last week that the human heart can take an awful lot.  It can be poked and prodded, shocked and even endure having tiny pieces of it literally killed off and still keep beating.  So too can the metaphorical heart.  I have endured hearing that two of my children, while each in utero, would most certainly die before, during or shortly after their births.  I have carried those little boys to term and watched each one die in my arms within hours of their birth.  I have stood at a tiny bare grave site to bury my first child and then eight years later at my oldest son's grave site by my very own headstone to bury my second son at his feet.  

I have also learned of the heart's incredible capacity for healing.  Both physically and emotionally.  At the age of 25, approximately one percent of the heart's muscle cells are replaced yearly, falling to one half of a percent by age 75 according to Dr. Jonas Frisen of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.  What I can take away from this is that the heart really heals, inside and out.  The heart that I had ten years ago is not the heart that I have today, neither one of them.


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