Monday, December 7, 2015

"Doing" the holidays

Stay away from me
with your twinkling lights
your jingle bells
your festive decorations.
Tone down your
giddy anticipation that
has virtually nothing to do with
marking the birth of Jesus,
and more to do with a couple days
off of work, the loop of carols
you can't stop humming,
how irresistibly cheerful the house looks
sprinkled with red and green. 

It is certainly not
the most wonderful time of the year. 

Doesn't my once healthy son
writhing in pain,
treated unforgivably late,
bruised - to death - from the inside out,
make any difference?
How can the same old
holiday rituals make sense
ever again?

I can never go back.
I don't know what to do with Christmas.          

He would be twenty-three months old today.
In one month, we would be
celebrating his second birthday.
I should be planning my boy's 
birthday party.   


  1. I should have a six month old with me. And you should have your B.W. And Zachary. How much heavier this coat of pain feels at Christmas. Thinking of you. Kim

  2. I feel like there is something peculiar about this second christmas after loss. Like the first one, we had a pass for not quite being "back" but now, 2 years later, we're expected to act as if nothing ever happened... I can only imagine how much more intense this confusion about what to do and how to do it must be for you, after losing B.W. and Zachary. (For me, most thoughts go to : how will we deal with Paul's second birthday?)

    I hope your holidays are as peaceful as they can be, despite the intolerable absences. Many thoughts to you and your family, Gretchen.

  3. Oh, Gretchen. We belong to the most horrible club, the club of the twice bereaved moms. I hate it.

    Like yourself, I hate that I just had to endure yet another Christmas grieving the loss of yet another dead baby, our precious Daphne, who would have been 9 months old. And tucked away is my grief for my son, Thomas, who would have been 7 years old.

    Christmas was sad and depressing. I tried to put on a brave face for my only living child, Sophie, 5 years old. I hate the anger. I mostly fought with my daughter and husband, MS, over Christmas, or so it felt like it. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep it all away. How can we pretend that everything is so merry and joyous when it is not? It is quiet and lonely and so sad.

    I hate that family and friends don't acknowledge our sadness and loss. Why do people think it will make us feel worse if they bring up the topic of our dead children. We skyped with MS's family who lives abroad and not one person acknowledged our loss. Instead, they told us they cried around the Christmas tree this year missing their dog that had died. No one checked in with us or acknowledged Daphne. Not any better from my family.

    What is wrong with people? Why is our north american society so detached and unable to deal with grief sensitively? I wish that I could outwardly express my grief by wearing black for a year or two or five. This pain and sadness does not go away after two weeks. It certainly doesn't go away over the holidays.

    I want people to feel the immense sadness, pain and suffering that we feel. We carried two babies in our wombs on two separate occasions only to hold them dead in our arms.

    Gretchen, I hate that I have to know you, but am so glad that I do. Your words yet again resound with me. You are such a beautiful and eloquent writer. My words cannot express what I really want to say. I am so sorry your beloved Zachary is not with you. I am sorry for all you have been through.

    You are a brave and courageous mother, Gretchen. Your children are loved by you deeply. I hope one day we will understand all this pain and suffering. Right now, it makes no sense.

    My thoughts are with you.

    1. Yvonne, I am so sorry. Your deserved to have Daphne's absence acknowledged. You deserve to have family who show that they miss her too, that they can sacrifice a bit of their holiday spirit in respect of her loss and your deep sorrow. You deserved for someone to take the time to comfort you on your first year WITHOUT TWO OF YOUR CHILDREN. It is so hard to understand why our families can be callous and thoughtless, why there is this forced sense of "everything is totally fine". It is infuriating and so hurtful.

      I am with you, as much as is possible, across the miles that separate us. Your Daphne (and Thomas) are held in such a special place in my heart. I will not forget.