Let's talk Christmas......
If Christmas card manufacturers are to be believed, we're all going to be stood round the tree, matching jumpers, roaring fire, happy and laughing.....even the dog. Nothing hurts.
I wonder, if card manufacturers actually made cards for baby loss, what they'd actually have on the front. Mam, Dad, Tree, Dog..... Wreath? Memory box?.... Happy, laughing, smiley faces?
Choosing a gift for your little one? It's hard. What to choose? Flowers or wreath? Zombie-like browsing round the shops looking at gifts you should be buying, but instead choosing something that will hopefully fit in an ever expanding memory box....
Got to the counter to pay for her tiny gift.... I'm served by Eric.....
"So..... is this a gift for someone special?"
"Yes, my daughter..."
"Fabulous. Would you like it gift wrapping, we have some fabulous princess paper today?"
"No thank you Eric...."
"Is your little girl excited for Christmas?"
"Yes...." I lie. I'm sure she would be....
"Is she not here with you today?"
"No, she's with her Nanna and Granddad...." I tell him truthfully.
Receipt in the bag.... swift exit.
Walking into Asda, Christmas eve boxes stacked high in the entrance... mental note made to get hers out of the wardrobe. I open it and see what I've got. Last years pyjama's, nope. Need new ones. Shes 6 now, not 5. Need new 'jamas. In the shop I pick a pair of 6-7 years. At home, I remove the tags and place them neatly on last years brand new, never worn pair. New slippers. Her chocolate from last year is still in date. Her books are still there. That's it really. I'll stick a bath bomb in for her. It'll make her jimjams smell nice and little girls like bath bombs, dont they? Might stick a DVD in there.... it is then lovingly and tearfully placed under the tree. Never to be opened.
Now then, that's an experience. Decorating the tree. All done in complete silence. Special baubles to mark different stages of her life. A million wishes for a different outcome with every bauble placed.
Christmas cards. Trying to get into the head of a 6 year old. What would she put to her daddy? He is my hero, so I know he'd be hers. I know she'd be very proud of him... how do I get all the love my heart has for her and him into one Christmas card. It has to be right And it rips me apart. But I do it, for her.
Christmas morning involves a nice brisk walk round the cemetery paying our respects to lost loved ones, and Rosie. Not much talking going on, just lots of hand holding whilst passing a raggy old tear soaked tissue between us, because I forgot to bring clean ones.... and there's none in the car. Every year. My bad.
Then home. Door locked. Hibernation until the New Year. Time spent locked away from society to deal, and heal. Only a select few allowed in. They know. They understand.
And then that's it for another year. Tree taken down. Baubles put in a safe place. Christmas eve box put in the wardrobe. Until next year.
They say it's supposed to be a magical time of the year. And it is. But for us battle worn mamma's and poppa's, no it isn't. For all the above reasons and a million more.
Come on card printers, try and put all that into an illustration and flog it. That is the reality of Christmas for some of us. For me and Tim and thousands of others. And it's something we didn't ask for.
Tim and I wish you and your families a very peaceful, gentle, healing Christmas.