This year was obviously hard. I knew it would be. Christmas Eve was exactly six weeks since Lily was born sleeping. I knew it would be difficult, but I just didn't realize how difficult it would be.
I tried to care about Christmas presents, but honestly, I couldn't do it. I went to my obligatory parties, but wanted to leave within minutes. I decorated the house, but it didn't fill me with my usual Christmas cheer.
We had a quiet Christmas Eve and I loved that. We went to Mass at our Church and I felt so much peace despite how much my heart was hurting. In the quiet moments of the Mass I can't help but think what it would be like to be wrestling Ted AND have a newborn. I hate that I don't know the answer to that. And I miss her.
The theme of Advent at our parish was "10,000 Reasons for Gratitude". Every family was supposed write three things they were grateful for everyday during Advent. By Christmas, there would be over 10,000 reasons throughout the parish.
We didn't do the best at keeping up with our list, but just seeing it on the fridge reminded me everyday how grateful I am. I am sad, angry and missing my daughter every single moment of every single day, but I am grateful that I get the chance to miss her.
They played Matt Maher's version of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and there's one part that made my heart sing thinking of Lily:
"And the angels they sing,
And the Heavens they ring,
Won't you raise up your voice
To the Son of the King"
I've never heard this Christmas song quite like this before...I know with all my heart Lily was rejoicing in the Heavens. I know she is praying for me. How do I know? Because there is no other way to survive this type of loss. It's impossible to breathe in and out without the faith of knowing she is helping me through this.
We left for Iowa on Christmas Day. (FYI - it's a great day to travel with a toddler.) My family does Christmas BIG...so big we have to rent a hall to hold everyone. I love it. I love that it grows every year with new fiances and new babies. I love how loud and joyful my family is. I normally hate to miss it, but this year we did. I didn't want to be overwhelmed all at once and mostly, I just didn't want to be there if Lily wasn't with me. I guess I wanted both of us to miss her first Christmas.
I was so happy to be home though and so thankful for that big and loud and wonderful family. We had lots of gatherings...I would say small gatherings, but that's never possible with my family. ;)
The most special part of our trip was getting to celebrate Lily with everyone. I know every single one of them wishes they could have been with us when Lily was born and after. But it just wasn't possible. One of my cousins asked me if it would be okay to have a Mass said for Lily at the Church where I grew up. It was so special! There were nearly 50 family and friends who showed up for Lily's Mass. It meant so much to celebrate Lily with all of our family and friends in Iowa.
We spent the rest of the week soaking up time with family and squeezed in a few visits with friends. Ted got to play with all of his little cousins and they were so excited to see "Ted from Arizona".