Our Christmas star

Last weekend, after much pestering from the children, we got all of the Christmas decorations down from the loft, up went the tree, out came the tinsel and Christmas officially hit the Dove household. And don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, always have, but occasions like these are always so bittersweet. Every year, with the appearance of the advent calendars, the Christmas tree, the ten thousand tons of glitter that adorns our house, there is always that constant reminder that one of our family is missing. And this year marks a momentous ten years without him.

10612827_10155044657330691_8209747887946344095_n.jpg

I always thought that the first Christmas would be the hardest. Everyone was full of sympathetic advice, told me that the “firsts” are always the worst and, at the time, I truly believed that. Just five months after Joseph left us we were faced with the over-whelming task of blindly groping our way through Christmas with a two year old who still very much wanted to celebrate. And it was heart breaking, the indescribable feeling of grief, of walking around the shops with “My first Christmas” novelty gifts at every turn, surrounded by babies and expectant mothers, happy faces who knew nothing of our inner turmoil. I’m not sure how we managed to find the strength to put on a happy face for Lewis, to sit down and eat a Christmas dinner that I couldn’t swallow past the lump in my throat, the churning pain of grief in my stomach, the hope that the day would soon be over so that I could go to bed and sob into my pillow for my baby boy who would never see a Christmas.

When the second Christmas came around I was optimistic that it would be easier. Our first Christmas in a new house, a new start, the hope of a new baby. And I had been shocked to find that it was equally as hard, that although the pain was not quite as raw as it had been previously, I struggled massively with the fact that another year had passed, that time had flown by so fast, that my baby boy seemed even further away than the previous year.

1781_110686615690_6713_n

And by our third Christmas it was just Lewis and I. A whole new level of devastation, of heartbreak, of failure. Sitting at the dinner table looking around at the remnants of my family, I had wondered how we would ever enjoy Christmas again?

164177_10150343449360691_4431882_n.jpg

Our fourth Christmas saw me having to share Lewis with his Dad for the very first time and it had broken my heart to wave him off after dinner, to watch him excitedly run down the driveway and into his Dads arms. And I had sat at home, fighting off double pneumonia and pleurisy, on my own with neither of my children to hold, feeling like the magic of Christmas had been lost forever.

But by the fifth Christmas Gaz had arrived on the scene, by the sixth we were expecting Eva, the seventh Megan and the eighth Harry.

576357_10152376134665691_1467657391_n.jpg

And by the ninth Christmas, our very first as a family of six, I told myself that we were finally complete, that from now on Christmas would be nothing but happy, fun, chaotic times for us all and I reminded myself just how lucky we were. And yet again I found myself surprised to discover that yes I can laugh, I can smile, I can genuinely enjoy every moment of it, and yet a part of me will forever be thinking, “One of us is missing”.

10868080_10155053719210691_5285941218584599705_n.jpg

And it’s not just about the obvious things, the empty place around the dinner table, one less stocking hanging on the fire place, one less present (or more like twenty!) under the tree. It’s all of the little things. Like how we never got the chance to take him to Father Christmas, to see the look of amazement on his face, to tell him, “Say cheese!” as we captured the perfect moment.

1917427_314545035690_7763458_n

It’s how he was robbed of playing his name sake in the school nativity, how we never got the chance to watch him, with a tea towel on his head, shyly singing along as I cried on the front row. It’s how we never got the chance to tuck him into bed on Christmas Eve, to kiss him goodnight and tell him that Father Christmas was on his way.

1923637_15697000690_8746_n.jpg

It’s about looking round on Christmas morning and seeing my children tearing open their presents, a flurry of wrapping paper, the manic sound of squeals and laughter as they hold up their presents and tell us, “Look what I got!!”, the kisses and the cuddles as they shower us with “Thank you!”, “I love you” and, “OPEN THIS!!”. It’s about the excitement, the mayhem, the indescribable feeling of joy and yet its the reminder that one of them is missing, that one of them will never know the happiness of Christmas morning.

I think that is possibly the saddest part about stillbirth, the fact that our babies were robbed of all of these special occasions, of birthdays and Christmas, and of knowing just how loved and special they are to our family. There will never be a time when we can say, “But remember Josephs first Christmas?”, when we can pour over photos of him tearing open his presents, laugh at his expression as we had propped him up in a novelty Rudolph Babygro or a miniature Santa suit. There will never be a time when we can reflect on those amazing memories together, when we can comfort eachother with the knowledge that we made his short life as wonderful as we could possibly make it. Because there was nothing, nothing at all.

10846033_10154969456300691_7382921229988728068_n.jpg

Instead, there are flowers. There are Christmas novelty planters, little pot Santas and Rudolphs and cherry red poinsettas that will die at the first touch of frost. There are baubles, Christmas decorations specially picked out by the children, hanging in pride of place on our tree. There are moments, on Christmas morning, when the madness has subsided and the children are busy with their new toys, that are just mine and Josephs. Where I take a minute, in the shower or sat quietly in the bedroom, and I cry for the Christmas’s that we never got the chance to have.

I am hopeful that this year, after ten long years without him, that I will finally find some peace, that I will finally come to realise that just like the star that sits on the top of our tree, our own shining star will forever be a part of our Christmas.

Because just like I tell the children about Father Christmas, just because we can’t see him doesn’t mean that he isn’t there.

IMG_4633

 

 

Run Jump Scrap!

 

My Random Musings

thumbnailsize

Mummuddlingthrough
Marvellous Mondays badge by Hello Archie
Follow:

Leave a comment

  1. December 9, 2015 / 9:07 pm

    I can only imagine how bittersweet this time of year is – it sounds like you’re coping so well & writing so openly will hopefully help others going through the same thing x #bestandworst

    • December 10, 2015 / 9:05 am

      Oh there it is!!! Thank you!! I hope that maybe someone preparing for their first Christmas can seek some comfort in knowing that it will get easier, maybe not just yet but in time there is peace to be found. Xxx

  2. December 10, 2015 / 9:03 am

    I commented on this from my phone last night but can’t see it now – did it come through?!!

    • December 10, 2015 / 9:04 am

      Oh I can’t see anything no?! Xx

      • December 10, 2015 / 9:10 am

        What I tried to say was…what a bittersweet time of year this is. I can’t imagine what it must be like but hopefully writing so openly will help other people going through the same thing x

  3. December 10, 2015 / 11:39 am

    Oh Laura 🙁 crying here!! Beautifully written, I can only imagine how hard this time of year must be for you. Lots of love and thanks for sharing such a lovely post with the #bestandworst x

    • December 10, 2015 / 3:03 pm

      Ahh sorry!! 😘 Very bittersweet but my little doves make it so much better than I ever imagined. Thank you. Xxx

  4. December 10, 2015 / 9:54 pm

    I can’t image how you feel, especially at this time of year. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  5. December 11, 2015 / 3:28 pm

    What a wonderful, sad post this is, I cannot imagine your grief of losing a baby. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I am glad that Joseph will never be forgotten.

    • December 11, 2015 / 5:20 pm

      Thank you. And a merry Christmas to you too! 😘

  6. December 11, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    Came across your blog via Random Musings roundup. What a heartbreaking post. No words… 🙁

    • December 11, 2015 / 11:09 pm

      Ahh thank you for stopping by. As heartbreaking as it is, I have been very lucky to have four more beautiful, healthy children and our Christmas will be as wonderful as we can possibly make it. 🎄🎅🏼xxx

  7. December 12, 2015 / 5:45 pm

    That was a bitter sweet post to read. Only last week, as we put our Christmas Tree up, did I have my little sadness amongst the chaos and happiness to think of our daughter we lost at 23 weeks. As it happened in November, Christmas will always hold a lot of reminders of how in pieces we were that year. For so many reasons, including the tree decorations we had inscribed with her name, and putting up the tree straight after her funeral. As a Mum who maybe, in a small way, knows how you feel, Thank you for articulating it so beautifully. What a tough journey you have had, but so pleased for your wonderful happy ending. X Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

    • December 13, 2015 / 12:44 am

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear that about your daughter, Christmas must be hard for you too. It IS bittersweet, every day holds bittersweet memories of what we have and what we should have. We just have to focus on the positives, on the children in our arms and hope that our little stars are shining brightly. Thinking of you this Christmas. 💜

  8. mackenzieglanville
    December 19, 2015 / 6:41 am

    Like you say so well it is so silent little moments like when we are in the shower that we have a moment to think and wonder what may have been and miss our angels. Bless you and your family and sending you much love xx Thank you also for linking up with me at #mg and for your comments on my post xx

    • December 19, 2015 / 8:45 am

      Absolutely. Christmas is so hard, despite it being our tenth without Joseph, as it’s all about family and one of mine (and Infact sixteen of mine) is missing. I am so lucky to have my four and Christmas will be the most magical, wonderful day for my family but it is always so bittersweet. Thank for for hosting your link up, I shall be linking up again next time. Much love! Xxx

  9. December 20, 2015 / 8:16 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. We lost my brother a week after Christmas and it will forever be tainted but of course, we have to push on for the one’s we love, but it will always be difficult. Beautifully written. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    • December 20, 2015 / 9:01 pm

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, that must have been so hard and Christmas must be a very difficult time for you all. I think it will always be hard, no matter how many years pass, when one of your family is missing. It will never be the same but I think we just have to learn a new kind of normal, whatever that may be. Much love to you and your family this Christmas. xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *