At our house we celebrate Yule, Hanukkah, and Secular Christmas, aka “Chrismayulakkah”. We basically give/receive gifts for one reason or another for the entire month of December. We have done the same this year, including our youngest child’s birthday and an annual gingerbread house contest. It has been blissful. I have enjoyed sincere moments of gratitude and kindness. My kids tease me that I just like to celebrate everything, but in truth I want them to embrace all the diverse opportunities for joy and gratitude that life offers. Even sad moments that refocus us.
I realized a week or so ago that it has been about a year since we had an unexpected pregnancy and a miscarriage. It was the most shocking, disorienting two weeks of my life. Honestly, worse than the week I took my father off of life support and watched him take his last breaths. We weren’t trying to get pregnant. Then, just as we started planning how to absorb this new twist, it ended. One thing that still bothers me is how taboo it is to discuss miscarriage openly and honestly with others. It makes most people so uncomfortable that they offer well-meaning yet sometimes hurtful commentary such as, “maybe there was something wrong with it” or “everything happens for a reason” or “it’s probably for the best”. I was reflecting on this sad anniversary, and allowing myself to feel the weight of grief and loss. I was feeling sorry for myself a bit.
Then the Newtown massacre happened.
I cried off and on for days at the gut-wrenching shock of it. I have tried not to cry in front of my kids, but I still tear up when they arrive home safely from school each day. I teared up when I realized how scary it must be for their teachers to keep getting up and going to work each day. I felt really angry when some people started debating gun regulation vs rights nearly immediately on social media and on the news.
What about the little kids that were killed? They are dead. Never coming home from school. My heart is broken into a million pieces for their parents.
It really hit me one day, when I was surrounded by holiday wrapping paper, toys and bustling shoppers in a retail store. The parents of those kids had shopped too. They had wrapped gifts and hidden them, attempting to preserve the magick of childhood as long as possible. I nearly fell to my knees as I realized that they still had to get up in the morning. They still had to face the holiday without their child there to light the menorah or unwrap their gifts under the tree. The magick was gone for those parents.
How the hell were they even breathing? I couldn’t catch my own breath at the mere glimpse of their limitless pain.
If I thought the miscarriage of our third child was painful, the Newtown parents’ pain must be unbearably breathtaking and paralyzing.
Since the tragedy, I have lit a white candle each evening for all of them.
I have also hugged my kids a little tighter and snuggled a little closer to my husband and had longer talks with my mother-in-law.
Merry Christmas. Blessed Yule. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa.
Most of all, enjoy your life and loved ones. Seize any opportunity to laugh, and honor the children of Newtown by pursuing your dreams to the fullest.
All my love,