This year we decorated. Last year it was too much. We were in the thickest fog of grief, and it hurt too much to “celebrate” anything without Ava. It all felt so overwhelming to make decisions about how we would include her in our traditions, and what traditions we wanted to start for her. She was gone, and we couldn’t see any good in decorating. I mean, we were just surviving each day at that point.
This year we decorated, but don’t be mistaken into thinking it was all joyful and full of holiday spirit, or that we are somehow healed and “all better now.” We decorated and it hurt. I dislike the term “bittersweet” for this… It was a mixture of intense sadness that what should have been her first Christmas is us hanging a few decorations in her memory in a quiet home. I also felt an intense love while hanging these decorations, though.
I was on the fence about decorating this year, but an amazing friend gave me the decoration “Sweet Pea Ava Lea” and it lifted my heart enough that I felt I needed to decorate in an effort to start making all those decisions that seemed too overwhelming last year. We need to forge our new holiday normal, one that honors Ava’s memory. My mom graciously made Ava’s stocking – 9.5 inches long, the same length as Ava. We got it in the mail today. My heart will never heal, but this year I can feel my heart beating again. And it wouldn’t be if it weren’t for these kind gestures.
Waiting for the glitter glue name to dry on her stocking now. It’s not the Christmas season we imagined, but it’s our life – here’s to living for her.
And if there is ever any doubt, it ALWAYS makes my day better just to hear her name. All I want for Christmas is her, but since that’s not possible I will settle for a memory.