Holidays are tough. Coupled with a birthday, and the day can come screeching to a halt. Glaring reminders of who is missing in our lives, and everything that was lost, leading up to those days. Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday, then Christmas. Will it ever get easy?

 

Halloween has always been a favourite in our home. The boys would get excited decorating the house with me, and watching excitedly as dad erected all our outdoor inflatables. We would purchase a few costumes for each boy, knowing they would wear them year long. We would bake and decorate sugar cookies all evening and spend days deciding what our pumpkin carving theme would be. It was filled with family time and love. This year, not one of those traditions happened, which really was the first time. The year Madox died I don’t remember decorating but we still carved pumpkins together and brought one to his plot. Nothing happened this year. I don’t know why. Was it because I didn’t take the lead as I had done yearly? Did Marco and Valin not feel motivated with the holiday, as I felt? Was it the looming covid pandemic that has inserted itself into everyones lives? I just know I felt extra heavy. The sorrow of the upcoming holidays and my birthday really pulled on me this year. It was a struggle.

 

My birthday had come and gone. One year older, but exactly the same. Each year I expect something, anything, that may lighten my mental load. Yet the new birthday arrives, and I haven’t moved from the ledge of my grief. Does it not get better? Easier? Why is my guilt getting fiercer, meaner? For the past month, I have been waking up from some horrible dream. Reality nightmares. Cruel reminders of what I felt I did wrong as a mom, what I should have done differently. I wake with a memory floating in my mind. A memory I felt I could have done better. Naturally I am wide awake, and angry at myself. Difficult to clear my mind, which follows me throughout the day. I confided in a friend about how I have been feeling, specifically about one memory. This friend, who lost her daughter to DIPG, confided her guilt memory that also keeps her up at night. I was shocked and shattered. Do all parents who have lost a child feel this way? Always have lingering guilt about one thing or another? A reminder that I am not alone in this.

 

Now that November is almost over, that only means Christmas is around the corner. Although not my all-time favourite holiday, I loved it for the family time we always had. I am sure guilt will drag out a memory to find and torment me, but I will try to fight it off. I will concentrate on all the laughter and happiness the boys always had. Watch all the holiday movies as we always had. Decorate the tree with some jingles in the background. Just be, as best I can. I can’t let the guilt win.