My grief counselor has often spoken of the idea that our lives, lived so cyclically, are permanently imprinted with the experiences of the years before. Meaning that, if something tragic happened in October of last year, it is entirely likely that the repercussions of that tragedy will echo through time to be felt in October of this year.
So I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that, as we trudge closer and closer to Christmas every day, my soul drags further and further down. In the next few weeks, I will celebrate my second Christmas without C. and mark his second birthday. And it hurts.
Honestly, I am quite surprised. I get good at fooling myself about my capabilities to deal with my grief and move on. I am not hating Christmas the way I did last year, so I thought that meant that I had experienced a miraculous healing over the past 12 months. I didn't consider the fact that not hating didn't mean over the Christmas pain. Foolish, really. But true.
To think... if my life were different, this would be the first Christmas that C. would start to really participate in the childhood wonder of Christmas tradition. His two-year-old eyes would take it all in; in wonder, in disinterest, in fear, who knows? Would he boldly march up to Santa Clause for his Christmas photo, or would he burst out in hysterics? Would he tear open his presents and play with all the toys, or would the wrapping and boxes be so much more interesting?
There would be sloppy kisses, and fights with his cousins over new toys, and my total annoyance at the insanely impractical gifts from his grandparents. He would be overtired and overstimulated, or laid back and cozy, or a bit of both. We would go to the park or skating or play street hockey, and he would insist on playing, even though his legs are too short to keep up with his cousins and he would probably end up crying. His dad would video it all.
I don't usually allow myself this indulgence... who he would have been. But there is something about the Babe's impending arrival that has allowed me this without stepping too far into the realm of imagination. And losing myself there.
And then my heart tears in two with longing, knowing how much I miss him.
None of this weight is lifted by the uncertainty that I feel regarding the Babe's safety. I suspected that I would be more fearful towards the end, and I am. There are so many unknowns - even down to where I am supposed to deliver. Is s/he okay in there? Are we going to get so close and then lose it all again? My strength and hope is faltering in these last weeks.
I am looking forward to two months from now, when I am past this Season of Pain.