While the holiday hustle and bustle is in full swing, it feels like our family is living in a separate world. A separate world that moves at a snail's pace. Even when we try to keep busy, time seems to drag. Working through the grief of losing my girl takes on a whole new level of hurt this time of year. Like many kiddos, Paige loved Christmastime. Decorating the tree. Baking yummy goodies. Checking out light displays. Watching our favorite Christmas movies. All of these things were special because of the time we spent together.
Paige will spend her first Christmas in Heaven fully healed and whole. I know we will be reunited one day, but this day finds my heart hurting. Broken. Truly shattered. Life goes on all around, while I'm slowly navigating each day feeling like Humpty Dumpty, wondering how I'm ever going to feel put back together again.
My brain tells me to keep moving forward, and I am--one day (sometimes one hour) at a time. I have to. For Boyce and Jeremy. For Paige. For myself. It's my heart I have to wrestle on a daily basis, and it's basically become a tug-of-war contest. Here's just a glimpse:
I fall apart. Getting ready to leave town--which in past years was not a big deal--for the first time as 3 instead of 4 proved to be quite taxing on the emotions. Boyce and Jeremy got their things together, and I was just fine. However, when I started laying out my own things, it hit me hard. I'm usually the last one to pack, but we were missing a piece of the puzzle. A beautiful, much-missed piece.
I'm (temporarily) back together. After a good cry, I finished packing. We even managed to fit everything into one big suitcase, which was pretty impressive. Turns out I needed that trip more than I realized. We flew to Ohio to be part of an incredible event that honored our sweet girl. Her face was everywhere--banners, shirts, a live-streamed broadcast. We strengthened our bond with the incredible family that flew us up there. We explored a beautiful metropark with winding roads, amazing fall foliage, and altogether peaceful surroundings. It was definitely a weekend of healing.
I fall apart. We're smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, and it's time to do a little Christmas decorating around the house--even if we aren't totally feeling it. Boyce and I try to do 'normal' things with Jeremy as much as we possibly can, so it was important to us to get through it. Going through bins of Christmas decor, I came across one containing decorations from our room on the Bone Marrow Unit last year. Decorations we kept because Paige wanted to use them again one day. Decorations that took my breath away and began the onslaught of tears.
I'm (temporarily) back together. Just two days later, we returned to TCH to help spread Christmas cheer to the families calling the Bone Marrow Unit home this year. The Chandler's Tree Farm organization blessed us last year, and it truly did our hearts good to give back this year. What I thought might prove to be too difficult turned out to be more like a family reunion. We visited with several friends--from patients to doctors to nurses. It was yet another step in the healing process.
I'm (temporarily) back together. Not yet. But I will be. Paige will make sure of it.
Our family is hurting. I don't know that the hurt will ever fully go away, but I do believe it will sting a little less as time goes by. I'm so thankful for the goofy, amazing young man we are blessed to call our son--who definitely keeps Boyce and me from totally sinking some days. It's important we make sure he knows it's okay to keep going. He's only 13, and we want him to go on to have a happy life. Jeremy is already a great kid, but this whole experience will only serve to make him stronger in character and in faith. I can only hope it will do the same for us.