Another Christmas and New Year pass.
It was the fourth Christmas without your bubbly excitement.
One more year that the white stocking graced the fireplace mantle – replacing your handmade red and green one.
The Christmas tree, filled with cupcakes and Eiffel Towers, was a type of memorial because it displayed things that you loved.
The tree also proudly displayed ornaments both you and your brother gave us. We’d give you $5 to buy us a gift at grade school craft fairs.
You’d proudly come home with brightly wrapped items.
Back then, they seemed so modest and simple.
Our last holiday season together, five years ago, was intensely precious.
Not knowing how long you’d be with us, we soaked up every minute.
Embracing, in a circle, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve wasn’t easy.
It was hard for you to stand, because of your illness, but you did.
You wanted to complete our family hug. And join in on our New Year prayer of gratitude.
On February 20, 2014, I didn’t know how many years I could bear the grief of our broken circle.
Losing you seemed to squeeze everything out of me.
But, here I am.
I haven’t given up, or given in to sorrow.
I soak up joy with people who I love, wherever or whenever I can.
Of course, it breaks my heart that you aren’t physically with me.
So I hang up special ornaments and decorations in your memory –
and try not to focus on how sad it is that I have to do so.
The number of Christmas’ that I haven’t seen you doesn’t matter.
It never gets easier without you. One. Single. Bit.
You are one of my best gifts ever.
Your love of Christmas magic has a special place in my heart little miss.
Yes, I made it through another year.
Love you more than all the cupcake and Eiffel Tower ornaments in the world,
Note: A friend of mine sent me an email after Christmas that began, “You’ve made it through another year.” These words touched me deeply. “She gets it,” I thought. Just these six words confirmed that she can only imagine the ongoing pain of losing my daughter. Her words are a special gift to me. While I don’t constantly talk about it, the sorrow of losing Leah is always present. Love for life and the people who I love keep me going.