Christmas overall was nice. In tradition we had people over for Christmas Eve just like we did when Jude was with us. It's turned into our way of remembering Jude with friends and family through stories and just being together. We lit a large candle in the middle of our table for him that everyone sat around while we talked and ate our traditional food.
Christmas day we started the morning with Emily and her boyfriend by opening gifts and eating a yummy baked french toast casserole. I then went back to sleep because my insomnia is horrible. It's something I have dealt with when Jude was alive and even more when he has passed. Jude used to get up every morning about 3-4 am needing to be turned and generally vomiting. We didn't have a nurse until the last year of his life so my body is just programmed to wake up at that particular time. So I slept for several hours before getting up to bake the lasagna to take to my family's home. It was refreshing and my body felt better overall.
We held up pretty well overall during the holiday but on the way home last night I couldn't stop the tears. I realized that no matter how many holidays pass I will never go home on Christmas again to see nurse Allan's shiny smile and Jude's sweet face. I will never open the door the day after Christmas with sleep still in my eyes to nurse Charlotte waiting to see Jude. So I cried. That's really all you can do is just express your emotion through tears or anger. I choose to let my emotions flow freely through the tears that I mostly conceal but Mike generally catches the tears and understands.
I guess it's rather normal to realize the holiday's will never truly be the same but I also understand they never really were after Jude was born. Jude could never run down the stairs to see what Santa had brought him and buying him gifts were sometimes a struggle. Jude would mostly receive two piece pajama's to accommodate his feeding tube and bright shiny toys with pretty lights. However Christmas was still precious to us and Emily always enjoys the holidays. So we have learned to be grateful for the blessings we have in what God has bestowed upon us. However there are times I lay in bed and wonder what it would be like to be the one that isn't strong anymore. To just have a freak out and say, I cannot life for awhile. I don't want to leave my house or participate in any facet of holidays, birthdays, work, or anything else that requires my full attention. I know this isn't me though so I have realized that PTSD doesn't go away. I still wake up ALL the time because Jude was up so much. I comfort with wine sometimes and I shut myself off to the world and I cannot stand overly crowded noisy rooms.. I can walk through a store and see two piece boy pajama's and I have to beeline behind a shelf while the tears fall freely. I freak OUT on highways and would rather take the scenic route. I have no idea the cause of the last situation except that the grief counselor said Jude's death triggered PTSD from a horrible car wreck Emily and I were in. So as much as people think I am superwoman I do have my issues. Mike said all women have issues you just choose which ones you can live with, lol! So I figure that parents of child loss don't ever truly overcome the PTSD they just learn to cope and live with it. The better I cope with it the better life is overall.
I think I have learned what works best for my family and what doesn't. Sometimes we push the boundaries but overall I have gotten pretty good and navigating the emotional field of grief. If I don't think attending an event is in our best interest then we don't go. I have said before we tend to go to events that are close to home so we can bow out gracefully if need be and that's okay. If people cannot deal with it they tend to fall out of our lives and we have had multiple situations like that. It's sad but I understand sometimes people cannot handle our situation and that's allowable and understandable.
I am not quite sure what 2018 holds for our family. Mike and I are still searching a bit for our purpose like we have been. We have talked more about adoption and we would also like to travel some. Regardless 2018 will have the same emotional holidays that we will tackle with love and hope. We pray for Emily's health and wisdom and for peace to all we love and those we have lost.
After writing this blog I found a precious picture on me memory feed. One that seems to say, "In the midst of a storm you still have to smile."