A couple weeks ago we decided to put our Christmas decorations up. Obviously it was with mixed emotions. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and season so I love having Christmas lights and decorations up. But of course, this year they are also a harsh reminder that Hailey isn't physically here to enjoy them with me. Lexi likes the lights and decorations but they don't amaze her anymore like they used to and Ava is still kind of young to get really excited and appreciate them, but Hailey was the perfect age!!! She used to oooh and ahhh over all the lights and decorations! Her face literally lit up as she would yell out, "Mommy look, beau-ful lights!" So it is a sore spot for me, but I'm hanging in there. Christmas morning will be tough though without her there. It's literally going to take every single ounce of strength I can possibly muster to act excited and not break down and sob in front of Lexi. But I know that I will be blessed with the strength to do so. I just try to remember my favorite line in the poem Footprints..."It was then that I carried you." I know that He will carry me that day.
Putting the ornaments on the tree definitely pulled my heartstrings quite a bit too. Every ornament on our tree has some kind of meaning behind it. We do an ornament exchange with my family every year so those are the only ornaments that are on our tree, aside from some that Sean made back in 1982 and a few that were given to us as gifts. Anyways, every time I'd pull one out with Hailey's name on it, I could feel my stomach turn and my chest tighten. But in some ways it gives me comfort to see her ornaments on our tree and remember that she will always be a part of this family. We still include her in our ornament exchange too. As most of you know from reading my previous entries, I do believe 100% that we will all be back together one day as a family, when Christ comes again and we will then get the chance to raise her during the Millennium. So, because of that belief, we will continue to include her so she'll have just as many ornaments as the rest of us.
Honestly though, I can truly say that I'm doing okay. I'm hanging in there, taking one day at a time. Some days are a lot tougher than others, but each one eventually passes and a new one begins. Two things that I have been very blessed with are my faith and hope. I have so much faith in my beliefs and so much hope for the future and the promises that God has made for us. That really does keep me going. Without it, I would probably be curled up in a ball in a mental institution somewhere, because I would not be able to deal with the loss of my precious child. As I have said before, some may find my beliefs to seem very weird or "far-fetched," and I'm totally okay with that. I believe that everyone has a right to their own personal beliefs or opinions. I am definitely not trying to push my views or beliefs on anyone else, but selfishly, this blog is about me. And my beliefs are the thing that keep me going. I figure if I'm wrong in any way, at least I won't really know until I'm dead. It got me through this life and made me a better person and that's all I need right now. So I thank those of you who don't share my same beliefs for keeping an open mind and still being willing to read my blog for the other emotions and feelings that I share.
On a different note, we are excited about this Christmas because of Hailey's memory. We have decided to take our pain and channel it into helping others. It is through service that we often forget our problems and end up feeling so much more fulfilled. I've really learned that a lot already! Giving our first donation from the Hailey Mayz Foundation was seriously the BEST thing ever!! I was on a high for days to know that we were able to bring joy and lift a burden from a family, all in Hailey's name! We've also adopted a family from CHOC (Children's Hospital of Orange County) for Christmas. They have 3 children, ages 3, 2, and 2 weeks. Financially they are really struggling and the mother expressed great concern at providing food for her children, so were are planning to give them the best Christmas ever! It has been so much fun shopping for toys for the kids and clothes and gift cards for food for the parents. I can't wait until we can deliver everything to their family!!! Also, Sean's work was collecting toys for a local orphanage and Kids Who Care Foundation. He gave his company a challenge: for every 50 toys the company collected The Hailey Mayz Foundation would donate $500 to the same cause. At the time of the challenge there were only a few toys collected, but one week later they had collected 117 toys and over $800 worth of gift cards!!!! We couldn't believe the amount of support that they all showed! We're hoping that the toys, gift cards, and the Hailey Mayz donation will give these a kids a brighter holiday and bring the smiles to their faces that I know our little Hailey would have had on hers this Christmas morning!
These are the things that I am trying to focus on this first Christmas season without Hailey. I am hoping we'll be able to continue this tradition every year in her name. She loved to help out...with laundry, putting the dishes away, shopping, picking up her messes, etc., so I know that she would be / is so excited that we are using her name and memory for such great causes!! We feel that we are doing what Christ would want us to do this season...service. So in that spirit, I challenge all of you to also do some act of service this holiday season, whether it be monetary, physically, emotionally, etc. And it doesn't have to be in the name of Christ (or Hailey), but just in the name of Humanity...Serving Your Fellow Man, Being a Better Person, or whatever else you want to name it!!! I promise it will be more than worth it!! If we can do it, I know you can too.