Monday, December 7, 2009
Remembering at Christmas
If you are missing someone you love this Christmas, someone of ANY age who is spending Christmas with Jesus this year, I hope you will join us on this very special Walking With You. We are sharing our Christmas memories and the ways that we remember our loved ones who have gone home to heaven at Christmas time. If you do not have a blog or do not wish to link a post, you may leave your Christmas memories in the comments below. If you do a post on your blog, come back and link up on the MckLinky following this post on Kelly's blog, and you can also enter her give-away.
This year is our first Christmas to remember our daughter Eliana. Last Christmas we were excited to announce our pregnancy with her to all our family members. It was especially exciting when my husband's sister announced her pregnancy too. Our due-dates were just a week apart. Here we are at Christmas last year, so happy to be expecting our third child.
This year we thought we would be bringing our beautiful baby girl to all our Christmas gatherings, letting all our loved ones spend time with her. She would be all decked out in that pretty green velvet Christmas dress my Grandma still has hanging in the back of her closet, and we would allow her to be passed around from one set of loving arms to the next until she couldn't take it anymore and we had to rescue her. There would be lots of presents under the tree with her name on them, and a pretty pink stocking we would fill with little baby toys.
Instead, this year I am thinking of ways to honor her life, and trying to remember that as much as I want her in my arms this Christmas, she is so much better off in the arms of Jesus. Instead of wrapping up presents with her name on them, we picked out some toys we might have chosen for her if she was here to enjoy them to donate to a mission project at church, along with Candy Land that my son picked out. We will plan to do this each Christmas in her honor.
I've also been working on making Christmas ornaments for other families who have lost a baby. Please let me know if you would like one of these. I am still planning to make more before Christmas. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, include your address, your child's name and gender, and year of their first Christmas in heaven, and I would love to send one to you.
Usually, each year I take off what I have on top of the entertainment center and set up a Christmas display. This year, I am going to leave it as it is, with Eliana's momentos, and I have just added two Baby's First Christmas rattles that each of our children have played with as babies.
I am planning to decorate a small tree for Eliana this year, with ornaments I have collected over the years since I was a little girl, and some butterflies and other things I have purchased specifically for her. I'm just waiting until my mom can bring the little tree I will be borrowing, so I'll have to post a picture of that later.
Finally, yesterday I purchased some Christmas flowers for Eliana's grave. I went to Wal-Mart, and was pretty disappointed in the selection, but ended up with some red and white flowers that would work. I still want to get one more red one to put in if I can find more at a different Wal-Mart. As I stood out in the cold putting them into the vase, I found myself obsessively trying to get them in there just right, and being continually disappointed with how it was turning out. Then I realized, it's not the flowers I am disappointed with, it's the whole act of celebrating my daughter's Christmas by decorating her grave. This is not the Christmas I had envisioned for her, or for our family. I want to be taking care of her this year, and so I do, in each small way that I can.
The gravestone in the picture is actually my Dad's. Eliana is buried in the same plot, and we haven't been able to purchase her stone yet. The plaque stuck in the ground next to it is her temporary marker that is faded now so you can't read it anymore. We're trying to save up money and hope to have her marker in place before her one year birthday in heaven.
Even as I write these things, and think of how much I miss my daughter, I am continually reminded of the joy she will be experiencing this Christmas in heaven. Joy that is greater than I can imagine, and greater than the very best things I could ever give her here on earth. If I could have one wish-to celebrate Christmas with her-I wouldn't ask to bring her back to be with us, I would ask if our family could please visit her in heaven, for just one day, so she could show us how happy she is, and all the love she is constantly wrapped in.
"Better is One day in your courts than thousands elsewhere." Psalm 84:10