So, I've never done a Christmas letter before. This probably isn't the year to start one, as most of this year was filled with heartache and pain. So, instead of sending one out to everyone, I thought I'd try just writing a blog post. Maybe it'll help me find SOME kind of joy this Christmas...
So, the year started out great! My mother, who had been pretty ill was stabilizing and even ditched the walker for a cane for a short time. I found out I was pregnant for a long awaited, VERY much prayed for, baby. We had a beautiful new house, everything was great! Then, it hit the fan. It started in April. April Fool's Day, to be exact. I started bleeding at 6 weeks pregnant. I had NEVER done anything like that before. I've always had an EXTREMELY difficult time getting pregnant, but have always done pregnancy beautifully (at least, until the very end of the pregnancy). Turns out, my progesterone was low, so I started taking a progesterone pill. Didn't help. After a few days, I got the dreaded phone call from my OB, saying we had lost the baby. I was (and really, still am) beyond devastated. We had a small memorial service in the backyard, and that was nice. Meanwhile, my mom's health started going back down.
The next month, May 13, we found out that we would NOT be getting custody of Chocolate Chip back. Not only that, but the visitation schedule would stay largely the same, and I'd have to pay more money. It felt like a knife to my already wounded heart.
In the beginning of June (around Father's Day), my mom suddenly looked to be on death's doorstep. Literally. She even had me call all 3 of her brothers (2 of which she hadn't been on good terms with in YEARS), so that she could see them and forgive them in person. All 3 came, said what they needed to, and left on good terms. 1 of them, who I had been close to as a child, is truly back in my life, and though he lives in St. Louis, I really feel pretty close to him and his family again, which is a huge blessing. We're actually planning on spending Passover with them this year, which will be lovely (in case you didn't know, my mom's family was Jewish, and this particular uncle is an Israeli ordained rabbi).
The end of June/beginning of July held 5 sleepless days and nights (in a row) for my mom and myself, as her disease had progressed to a terminal delirium (I think that's what it's called), and not only did she not appear at all tired or sleepy (no matter what meds we tried), but anytime I took my eyes off of her for more than a few minutes, she was getting out of bed and falling, or doing some other awful thing. She finally died in a peaceful coma on July 28 this year, warm, and loved in her own home, here with us.
The rest of the summer/fall was extremely busy, preparing for winter, and making changes to the house that we had been putting on hold, so as not to bother my mother who had become pretty sensitive to noise. We got a new fireplace, new windows, recently put 67 bags of insulation in the attic, and my husband finished the garage.
November came, and so did Charlotte's due date (November 23), which was agony. The memories and feelings of the day(s) we lost her back in April came flooding back. Of course, that was a Sunday, and so we went to Mass, and saw all kinds of pregnant women, and tiny babies, which did nothing for my increasing depression and anxiety. That Thursday was Thanksgiving. Awful. I survived it. The day after Thanksgiving was worse. My husband and the girls wanted to put up the Christmas tree and decorations. I wanted to die. I didn't know how I was going to face Christmas without my youngest child. Yes, child. I know that I had only been 6 weeks pregnant, but that baby was no less loved, and no less my child than my other 2 born children. I had no less dreams, expectations, and hopes for that child than I do my other 2. If we as Catholics, believe in life at conception, then why is it so hard for some of my Catholic friends to acknowledge that one of my children died??? I'm expected to be mourning my mother, but I have had some friends not even consider that I should be mourning my child too. I do miss my mom, and Thanksgiving was strange without her, as was Hanukkah (we celebrate 1 night of Hanukkah on St. Lucy's feast day to keep the traditions alive for myself and my children), and I'm sure it will be strange to have Christmas without her. However, the main source of my pain and dreading Christmas does not stem from my mother's absence, but from my child's.
December, thankfully, is nearing it's end, along with this awful, terrible, horrible year. Unfortunately, I still have 2 more holidays to endure first. Christmas is coming, faster that I'd like. Actually, Emma has the flu, started with a fever Thursday night, and has pretty much been on top of me, breathing, coughing, and sneezing germs my way the entire time. I've actually been hoping to catch it, so that I have a valid excuse to hide from the world on Christmas, but so far, nothing. Blasted good immune system... Anyway, I still have a few more days to possibly catch it, so here's hoping! After Christmas, is New Year's Eve. We normally spend New Year's Eve with the same group of families at the hosting family's house. I had been looking forward to going with my new baby this year, but now... To top it off, one of the families HAS a new baby, who was born just a week or two before Charlotte's due date, with the middle name the same as our boy name that we have been waiting to use. Thankfully, that is the grandbaby of the family, and that daughter hasn't come to the party in years, but still...I'm sure there would be plenty of talk and pictures to show. Thankfully, we haven't gotten the annual invitation yet, and I'm rather hoping we won't, as I know I'd be expected to go. One year, the hosting family went on some big vacation, and so there was no party that year. Kinda hoping that's the case this year, too. Anyway, I hope you'll excuse me if I have no "Christmas Spirit" this year. I'm just trying to survive the death of my mother, and yes, my child. Hopefully next year will be better. It can't (please God) be much worse than this year has been.
Honestly, if it weren't for my wonderful husband, I would probably be in an insane asylum or dead by suicide by now. He keeps me sane, and even gets me to smile and laugh. The oils are helping a lot too. But, I doubt I would have even cared to search for the oils if my husband wasn't the loving, supportive, caring, wonderful man that he is. He really got my attention when he told me he was worried about me, and that I should probably talk to someone (like a therapist). If he hadn't said that, I probably would have just continued my downward spiral until he was planning my funeral. Thanks to him and my essential oils, I am here, surviving, looking for hope and joy in the coming year.
I hope you all have had a better year than I have, and find the Joy that is eluding me this Christmas.
God Bless everyone, especially those who have been by my side, helping me through the worst year of my life.