Surviving Christmas

So it’s been awhile since I last blogged – over two weeks.  I took a break for a couple of reasons.  Once the holiday season was in full swing, I just could not handle writing about it.  What was there to write about?  How much pain I was in?  How I could not take seeing all of the babies’ first Christmases or picture with Santa on my Facebook feed every day?  How we had plans to go home to the U.S. and introduce our son to our family, but not anymore?  Even if I had wanted to talk about that in a blog post, I just couldn’t find ways to put my thoughts together, so I decided it was best to just let myself get through Christmas and reassess afterwards.  I didn’t want to feel angry when I was writing, so I knew it would be better to wait.  And now that Christmas is finally over with and the new year is upon us, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me to some extent.

Additionally, I got a message from someone a couple weeks ago, which did not help me to channel more positive thoughts.  This person told me I needed to “grieve privately,” that I should “loosen my grip” on everything, that I should just have another baby, and that – drumroll – I need to put my son in “another part of [my] brain.”  I really just want to write a bunch of expletives now, but I already got that out of the way, so let’s just get to the point.  No one should EVER tell another person how to grieve.  Put my son in another part of my brain?!?  I did respond to this person and simply said that it’s not anyone’s business how I grieve.  And that I think I am doing pretty well considering the hell that my husband and I have been through this year.  While the holiday season was particularly hard, most days are happy for me.  I went to holiday parties and was able to enjoy myself.  I work, run my daily errands, take care of my husband, go out with my friends.  Some days I do cancel my plans and stay home because I am sad, because sometimes that is what I know I need.  But, overall, I am satisfied with my progress.  I do realize that I chose to write this blog and am putting all of this out there publicly for all to see, which is a risk I take; however, if it is offending someone, they can choose not to read it – just like anything else on the internet.  I said in my short response to this person, “I do enjoy my life and part of my life is Luca and that is how it will always be.”

Even though I know I should not let this affect me, how could it not?  Those words stung and I wondered for awhile how many other people were thinking what this person said about me?  But, on the other hand, this was the only really negative response I had received from anyone, and in addition to that I have received so many positive messages and emails from so many kind people encouraging me to write and telling me they enjoy reading about Luca.  I have received several messages from people even saying that reading about my grief journey has helped them to get through their own hard times.  And, just the other day, I got a message from someone who asked me to please tell them how they can best support a grieving person – how amazing is that?  Those kind of messages are the best responses I could ever receive.  For those reasons, and because it helps me so much to tell Luca’s story, I will continue to blog, but I am glad I took some time to rest and reflect.

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Beautifully decorated for Christmas – thanks to Nonnina and Mimi!

As Christmas neared, the days became harder to bear… excruciating is more like it.  On Christmas Eve, we attended church.  Admittedly, it hasn’t been easy for me to go to church since Luca, especially here where I haven’t found one that I really feel at home in, and Christmas Eve was no exception.  I usually love Christmastime, but as everyone surrounded me with their families and children and babies, I cried through most of the songs while everyone else smiled and celebrated.  The minister spoke of God’s mercy and how God had spared his son from an explosion in Afghanistan by mere seconds.  While I am happy that his son is okay, this message just did not resonate with me.  I listened and wondered why that man’s son was spared and mine was not. It just didn’t make sense.  I didn’t get it.  Afterwards, I left as quickly as possible, so I wouldn’t have to stop to talk to anyone, and we headed out to have dinner with friends.  The best friends are the ones who take you as you are – happy or sad – and I am so thankful for the many people I have in my life like that.  We enjoyed a delicious, fancy Christmas meal, laughed a lot, and had a great time.

I woke up on Christmas morning and realized I had had a dream that I saw a rainbow.  There was more to the dream, but that is all I can remember.  I dream a lot these days, so it wasn’t anything surprising.  I got up and went across the hall into Luca’s room to have a quiet peaceful moment to think about him on Christmas morning.  First, I opened up the blinds and as I looked out the window, I saw a gorgeous rainbow!  I woke my husband up and made him look to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.  I wasn’t!  I cried happy tears because I just knew that this was God’s way of saying everything was going to be okay and my angel was safe with Him and was saying hello to his mom and dad.  I FaceTimed my mom and showed her too, then went outside to take a walk and snap some pictures.

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View from our doorstep

A picture taken by my friend of the same rainbow with a much better view from the seawall down the street:

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Sunabe Seawall, Okinawa, Japan – Photo Credit: Kelsey 🙂

The rainbow lasted for at least 20 minutes and was so beautiful.  They are less common this time of year, and after it disappeared the rest of the day was gray and rainy.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have received such a special Christmas gift.  It truly lifted my spirits on a day that I assumed would be terribly painful. Christmas was still not an easy day, but I felt more hopeful and peaceful that day than I had in weeks.  My husband and I exchanged a few gifts, watched movies, and mostly relaxed.  We didn’t talk to as many family members and friends, because we just weren’t in the mood to exchange pleasantries and act like we were having a merry Christmas.  Maybe next year I will be able to write about how to survive Christmas when you’ve lost someone, but for this year I was just trying to survive.  ❤

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11 thoughts on “Surviving Christmas

  1. I am so disgusted by the person who sent you that message, I am SO SORRY that you received that. I know I might not comment on every blog post you write but I always read them, sometimes I just don’t have the words. I feel like I am learning so much from you and I love that you want to talk about Luca…thats the way it should be. My father has been gone for 25 years now and he is hardly talked about EVER and its been like that my whole life and makes me sad, particularly when I was growing up because I wanted to know what he was like etc. I know its a different situation but just because people aren’t here to have conversations with us, doesn’t mean we can’t have conversations about them.

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  2. I love your blog and truly believe that you’re doing important work by sharing an experience that’s not commonly addressed in our society. I’ve learned so much from you on how to be there for others. Ignore the haters!

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      • All morning I’ve felt the need to stop everything and write to you. I just want you to know that I’ve always considered myself so lucky to count you among my friends. However, now I feel honored that you so generously share Luca with me. I also want to thank you for the many sites you’ve posted on grieving. They have helped me learn how to be a better friend for someone in my life who has also experienced a loss. Jess your writings are helping so many people in far more ways than you probably expected. I hope that our love for you is something that you can hold deep in your heart, and I hope that this love will give you inner peace.

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  3. How unhappy that person must be to be so cruel to others. Your blog is not only showing us how beautiful and loved your son is, but is also helping to educate all of us that have never experience such a loss about what grief really is and how to help those suffering.

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    • Thank you so much, Amy. That is certainly my hope- that I can honor Luca and also help to teach others how to help people through such difficult times when our society doesn’t always make it easy to discuss such topics. Hope you had a nice holiday – miss you! 🙂

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  4. This is the first post of yours I have read, as I work on getting more involved in writing on my own and connecting with the bloggers in communities near me (I’m an Oki blogger as well!). I can’t even imagine this time of year and how difficult it must be. I am so, so sorry you received such a vile message from someone! I don’t understand why people feel it’s their right to send things like that to people they don’t even know!
    While I have never dealt with loss, I struggled for a few years coming to terms with my infertility and I sought out other women and bloggers who were experiencing the same journey I was- I needed to know I was not alone and wasn’t different than every single other woman on this planet. I can only imagine there are other mother’s out there who have experienced loss who are looking for that same support and for them, and people like the reader who messaged you asking for advice on supporting someone grieving, what you are doing is so very important! Sending you virtual hugs and hoping the rest of the season isn’t so bad for you.

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    • Thank you so much for reading my blog, Elizabeth! Now that the New Year is upon us and the holidays have passed, I am feeling much better and am looking forward to 2016. I am so sorry to hear of your struggles too. While losing my son has been so difficult, I am extremely thankful that I was blessed with that pregnancy and got to be his mommy and will never take that for granted. While our experiences may be different, I think it’s usually very helpful to have support from others who have been through the same kinds of troubles whatever those troubles may be. Before I started my blog, I read so many other blogs and books about other similar families. It always makes you feel better to know you are not alone. Sending hugs to you too and I wish you much joy and many blessings in the New Year! 🙂

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  5. Pingback: A New Year | Living for Luca

  6. I’m so sorry that someone was so horrible to you. No one has the right to tell you how you should grieve, and your blog is amazing. I can only imagine the loss you have suffered, and your blog has really helped me to understand how to help people in a similar situation. Keep on doing what you’re doing, because you are providing much needed support to people.

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  7. Pingback: An Unexpected Gift | Living for Luca

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