Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Birthdays and Holidays

I'm going to do a bit of a long update because it's been awhile.

2015 has been a hard year for multiple reasons.  We have survived a significant move to a neighboring town into a much better house for us.   Although I will miss being less than 2 miles from Gabriel, it is nice that we still aren't too far away.  The neighborhood is nice and our family is much better fit in the new place.   Of course we have Gabriel monuments and memorials throughout our new home.

Over the course of late summer/early fall we experienced a few more losses, tough ones.  My dear grandma passed away in August.  This loss was devastating for me as I've always been close to my maternal grandmother. I found comfort in knowing that Gabriel would now experience the grandma I knew and loved so much.   Her death was not a surprise, there were multiple things leading up to that time. I'm just glad I got to see her and spend some time with her in the days and hours leading up to her passing.

My mother in law had a long and courageous 9 year battle with cancer. She was a fighter and was able to continue on living, even with the chemo and other treatments.  In November her body did not react well to the new chemo regimen she was on and she landed in the hospital where she would stay. Although this death was somewhat expected, it was still a shock as we weren't expecting it so soon.  Just weeks before this happened she was doing very well and had been out running in the sprinkler with my kids, enjoying life on river cruises and other vacations.  That chemo treatment took her out fast and we were all a bit surprised.  Her passing - especially being so close to the passing of my grandma - was very tough for our family.  It is comforting to know that although my surviving children have lost 2 grandmas, my Gabriel has gained 2.  I know those two lovely ladies are up there spoiling him with love, although our hearts remain broken here. In the last moments I had with Gail, I asked of her the same thing I asked of my grandma." Please give Gabriel a special hug and kiss from me, tell him how much I miss him and that I'll see him again someday." For Gail I added "Take care of my little man, I'll take care of yours."

Through these losses, I've learned how much Gabriel's death has effected Evelyn.  She handles it death and loss like a champ.  We always try to put it in a positive light "We'll see grandma again some day." or  "Grandma is going to take care of Evelyn for us till we see them all again!".   For Christmas, the only thing she asked from Santa was a photo of grandma Gail for her bedroom.  Through a joint effort including a heartbroken auntie, Santa came through. Evelyn couldn't have been more thrilled. But we were so heartbroken. It's so sad to know that she gets it. At 5 years old she understands more than she should. It breaks my heart and makes me miss these beautiful ladies even more. Evelyn has glowing stars on her ceiling and one night caught me completely off guard "mommy, you see that star there? The one by the little ones there? I'm going to name it Grandma Gail because it shines so bright."  Instant tears fell.  She is so sweet and absolutely wise beyond her years.

I don't want my kids to experience loss, sadness and heartache. Especially at such a young age. But it's a part of life and they handle it with grace.

Gabriel's birthday this year was a bit tough. He would have been 4 years old.  I had a tough time holding it together throughout the day as my mind wondered to sights of him, the way he smelled and felt to the touch. We told Evelyn that it was Gabriel's birthday and that we would go to the cemetery to put up his tree and celebrate his life.  I don't think she quite understood what that meant.  She was excited all day, dancing around the house saying "It's Gabriel's birthday!"   We dug out his Christmas tree and went out to adorn the cemetery with holiday cheer.  Although it helps brighten that day for me, it's still so sad.  The cemetery looked beautiful with his bright white tree shining for all the babies that rest there.  Evelyn was disappointed. Although I bought cupcakes to have after setting up his tree, she was upset that there wasn't more to it.

Christmas day was tough. I wasn't feeling jolly, happy or in the spirit.  When Evelyn opened her photo from Santa she was so excited. She exclaimed "A photo of Grandma! It's what I wanted! For my room!"   Daddy lost it. His heart hurt and was broken still.  My heart hurt but I held it together so D could have the moment he so desperately needed. Holidays are so hard with so much loss in the air.

This Christmas day was different however.  Over the summer, my sister in law became pregnant with triplets. Sadly she lost 2 of the babies at around 16 weeks. She continued on with the 3rd baby and her due date was set for Christmas day.  The pregnancy was emotionally tough, you could see it on her face.  In the afternoon hours on Christmas day, She went into labor.  She had asked me to attend the labor and delivery previously.  Little did I know she would go into labor on Christmas.  It was a quick 3 hour labor and she was surprised with a little Christmas baby boy!  Helping this little guy into the world on a day that was so tough to get through, really brought some happiness and peace to the season.  My family needed that positivity this year.

For now we are living in the moment. I cherish the sadness, tears and hurt as a symbol of how much these wonderful people have meant to me.   It's not easy to grieve, to hurt so much.  We are looking into 2016 with a positive outlook and hoping for great things this upcoming year.

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