beyond christmas

As a family, I think we both had anxiety as we anticipated this past Christmas. Being our first one without Logan, without our families, just the three of us, we didn’t know how it would go. I think we worried that it was be a depressive cry fest, full of heightened emotions and unrealistic perceptions. I had held pretty strong through Thanksgiving, although I will admit neither holiday felt like the special occasion they’ve always held in my heart. After Thanksgiving passed though, and we began putting things up for Christmas, I started to realize how much Christmas was going to bother me.

Wyatt I and usually put up the Christmas decorations, it’s not really Josh’s thing. He sits back chatting with us while watching us do what we enjoy. It was in that moment that I realized, Logan won’t do this with us, not just this year, but every year. I wouldn’t get to teach him how to separate out the ornaments that are populating one corner of the tree that he so proudly placed all by himself. I won’t get to lay around in front of the tree, with all the house lights off, and just the Christmas tree lights illuminating our faces and the temperature it brings to our souls.

My grandmother, being the wonderful and understanding woman that she is, saw my vision for new stockings this year. We wanted to start new traditions this year, and stockings was #1 on the list. Even though I knew Logan wouldn’t be here, I knew he needed a stocking. My grandmother made us stockings, that were everything I wanted and more. They held meaning because she fabricated them. And it made her apart of this Christmas even though she wasn’t here. But as we placed the stockings by the tree, I sat there alone in silence, looking at the stockings. It was in that moment, that I realized Christmas morning, Logan’s stocking would be the only one left hanging. It would be empty. Alone on the wall, while the family stockings would be full by the tree. Wyatt wouldn’t get an opportunity to help his brother open presents and play with his toys. Logan would not get to be apart of any of our usual traditions.

We tried to have new traditions this year, and while some worked, being alone only echoed even louder that something was missing. I didn’t get to tell Logan the Christmas Story. We took his bear to Christmas Eve service, but Logan wasn’t there. He’ll never get to go on stage and listen to the Christmas Story. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and this year was a hard one to swallow.

Since Christmas has passed, it seems that I’m still emotionally heightened. I think I blocked or avoided a lot of what I was feeling over Christmas break. Josh tried to talk to me about it once and I started crying and refused to talk about it anymore. I often wonder if that’s not part of my coping mechanism. Have I been doing this for the past 10 months? Have I only been partially dealing? Or is this just the ‘wave’ everytime talks about? The ripple in the surface that shows the rabbit hole lingering down below? The rabbit hole full of all the emotions, turmoil and pain that swirl in a dark pit.

In the past week, I have found myself longing for Logan much stronger than usual. And everytime I feel it come on, I force myself to think of something different. It’s like the door continues to open, but I refuse to walk in.  I don’t usually think about what Logan would be like today, but lately, I do. I see other children his age and begin to wonder what he would be doing right now. What would he look like? Would he talking? Would he be walking? Crawling? Giving me headaches? I just miss him so much.

I can vividly think back to his time here at home. I remember how he smelled, how his warm skin felt against my body. I could feel every bone in his body. I can feel his peacefulness. I can see his face; his eyes far away and his sudden chest movements as his rhythmic breathing changed as he died in my arms. As traumatizing, exhausting, mentally/emotionally/physically draining those 14 days were, I would give anything to do it all over again, just to be able to hold Logan. To love on him some more.

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