Friday, December 23, 2011


I have always loved Christmas.  I still love it.

But having Christmas arrive less than six weeks after our tremendous loss has been strange.  It's confusing to have such deep sorrow during a time that typically brings such happiness. 

When I look at the beautiful ornaments that hang on the tree in William's honor, I am filled with joy and pain.  I feel joy because he lived.  I feel pain because he lives no longer.

His stocking hangs above the fireplace.  We will fill it each year with items to donate to a child in need.  The thought of this new tradition brings me happiness.  William will never reach into his stocking on Christmas morning.  The realization of this loss brings me intense sadness.

In the midst of my grief, I strive to remember why we celebrate Christmas.  With gratitude, I reflect on the gift of Jesus and how His birth, death, and resurrection has made it possible for us to spend eternity in Heaven.

Today, my husband and I visited the cemetery for the first time since William's burial.  On the way there, we stopped and bought two small plants to place on his grave.  As we picked them out, I choked back tears.  Instead of buying presents for our son, we were preparing to visit his grave.
Later, we wept as we knelt together in front of the temporary marker that bears his name.  I ran my fingers across each letter.  My heart ached.  

As I looked around the cemetery, I noticed countless graves with wreaths or other Christmas items placed on them.  I realized that people come to the cemetery at Christmas as a way to honor their loved remember them. 

We will now do the same.  We know William resides in Heaven, but visiting his grave is a way for us to say, We remember you.  We miss you.  We love you.

As we drove home, we listened to Christmas music.  Away in a Manger played softly on the radio as I looked out the window.  I listened to the familiar words with a new perspective... 

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Miss You

It's been almost four weeks since you were born
It's been almost four weeks since you died
I miss you
I miss you so much
When we were separated
My body longed to care for you
My heart longed to beat beside yours
I am so lonely for you
This morning I looked up at our skylight
I watched a single ladybug crawl slowly across the window
And I cried
I cried because I miss telling you about the world
I cried for all the ladybugs you'll never see
I sat beside the Christmas tree
And I cried
I cried because I wanted to spend this Christmas with you
I cried for every Christmas we won't be together
I cry for you often
I cry for everything we had
I cry for everything we'll never have
And I know things will get easier
But this winter feels unending
The coldness of your absence makes my heart ache
And I know you are now living in perfect eternity
But it feels as though you belong with me
In my body
Or in my arms
And I'm trying to accept that you're gone
But I miss you
Your life changed my life
So I grieve for you
Because I read that grief is the cost of loving someone
And I loved you so deeply
And will love you forever

Friday, December 2, 2011

Moments of Grief

I am still working on writing William's birth story.  It is a difficult story to tell and I'm writing about it as I feel led.

In the meanwhile, I am working through my grief on a moment by moment basis.  I knew it would be difficult, but I didn't anticipate how exhausting it would be.

My sadness is amplified at unexpected times and triggered by unexpected things.

I sit at the kitchen table and stare at the petals that have fallen from the vase of flowers.  I realize that the flowers are dying and begin to cry.

The flowers are dying.  My baby died.  Why do beautiful things die?

I stand in front of the dishwasher and look at the green light that tells me the dishes are clean and need to be put away.  I see the clothes piled in the hamper.  I hear the garbage truck beeping as it drives around our neighborhood to pick up the trash.

How do these ordinary things keep happening when I'm in such extraordinary pain? 

My Mom takes me to the grocery store to help me get a couple things we need.  I stand in the produce department and look at all the people rushing around buying fruit and vegetables.  I want to stop them and tell them that I had a baby.

I know you can't tell, I imagine myself saying, but I gave birth to a baby boy two weeks ago.

It really happened.

He used to be alive...and now he isn't.

I realize it would be irrational to say these things to strangers, so I quietly shop for my food.

But I do find myself longing to talk about William.
To say his name out loud.
To affirm that he existed.

Sometimes I open my eyes in the morning and think, How has this happened?

Sometimes I stop what I'm doing and say, He died...our baby died.

I say the words aloud because it's a way for me to process and accept that it happened.  The words are hard to say and I'm sure they are hard to read or hear, but they are true.

I think that these moments of grief are necessary.
They are painful.
They are uncomfortable.
But they are still necessary.

Sometimes I have to fight feelings of failure.

Pull yourself together, Ali.
Stop crying.
Where's your faith in God?

But then I stop myself.

Because it's ok for me to grieve.  If I need to cry, I can cry.  I'm allowed to miss my baby.

Having faith in God does not mean that I won't or shouldn't feel pain.  God doesn't require me to pretend that I'm not devastated by the loss of William.

So instead of putting unrealistic expectations on myself, I will accept my need to grieve.

I will allow myself to validate the sad things that have happened by saying them aloud.  But even in my moments of grief, there are other truths that need to be remembered. 

They need to spoken aloud, as well.

God is good, even when life feels bad

Hope endures, even when pain is all I see

God is near, even when I feel so very alone

My moments of grief will lessen over time...I will feel happiness again...

I will feel happiness again.