This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Holidays

Well for those of you who check my blog regularly, you know it's been quite a while since my last update. (Don't worry, I'll make up for it with the length of this one!!!)   I've been so busy these last few weeks.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  Some days I love it because it keeps my mind off of the emptiness I feel this season without Hailey, but other days, I'm so overwhelmed that I actually get angry at how busy I am.  I literally have something going on almost every single day and night!  It's craziness.  I do have one experience in particular I wanted to share with you:

Last week my church had a Christmas dinner and program for the women (We call each other sisters.).  I had planned on going up until about an hour before.  It was then that my anxiety started to get the best of me.  To be totally honest, I have been starting to experience the anger that is usually expected with such a loss.  Not anger at my Heavenly Father or Hailey or really anyone in particular, but anger at the situation, the pain, the emptiness, the sadness, and the pure unfairness of it all.  The anger that I feel about having to spend the rest of my holidays (and physical life, for that matter) without Hailey physically here.  Yes, I believe she is very often here in spirit.  I truly believe that the Lord allows our loved ones to be here with us for important events in our lives.  One of my biggest fears the second I had a children was something happening to me and the fact that I would miss out on all my children's most important events in life.  The more I thought about it and prayed about it after Hailey passed, and after reading the book The Message, it became apparent and totally made sense to me that I wouldn't miss those events, just as Hailey won't.  I can't imagine being in Heaven and feeling totally happy if I couldn't see or be with my family members still here on Earth and I also can't believe that a Father in Heaven who loves us so much wouldn't allow us to be there.  So that being said, I KNOW that Hailey is and will be here in the future for those important family events.  And I know that when I see her again one day, she'll be able to talk about those things with us as if she were physically here.  I have often felt her presence surround me.  This may sound very weird or far-fetched to some of you, and honestly, that's totally fine with me.  Everyone has a right to believe what they may and I'm and not offended in any way by those who don't share my beliefs.  I'm just sharing what I believe based on my own personal experiences and what my faith has taught me.

ANYWAYS...back to the Christmas dinner.  I was starting to feel anxious about going and angry that I had to go carrying this burden on my shoulders.  Last year my mother-in-law was out visiting and we went together, with newborn little Ava.  I remember how happy I felt that my family was complete for the Christmas holiday and afterward coming home to check on Hailey before I went to bed.  I couldn't believe how different this year was.  I was also worried about how everyone there would treat me.  Would they act as if nothing ever happened or they forgot?  Would they feel obligated to come up and hug me and tell me how sorry they were for me?  Would I make them uncomfortable being there because they wouldn't know how to act around me or what to say?  Would I bring about a sadness to an event that was supposed to be joyous?  Honestly, I didn't even know what I personally wanted the answer to these questions to be. 

So as I continued to wrestle with the thought of staying home (and feeling sorry for myself) I finally decided that was it, I was going.  I knelt down and said a prayer and told my Heavenly Father that I was only going for two reasons: 1. Because Christmas is really about the birth of Christ, not me.  I would honor Him and celebrate His birthday.  2. Because Hailey would be really bummed to know that I sat home and moped around because of her.  So I asked Him for strength to get through the night and also for a spiritual experience so I would know that was where I was supposed to be.

As I drove there with my neighbor, I could feel the anxiety building up in my chest.  I'm not a very emotional person in public.  It's very rare that one will see me crying anywhere but in the privacy of my own home or family.  But I could feel the emotions and tears welling up.  My neighbor then told me about a text that one of the women (sisters) sent her asking if I would be there and also telling her to let me know that everyone really wanted me to come.  I can't even explain how special and loved that made me feel.  And it didn't stop there.  As soon as I walked through the door, the sisters I attend church with showed me more love and compassion than I could have ever asked for.  None of them made me feel awkward or that they were "obligated" to hug me and say hi.  They were so genuine.  And so many came to me and told me how they still read my blog and really admire my strength and faith.  (That was from them, not me.  I feel so weak all the time.)  I've been told from the start that as time goes on people also go on and tend to forget.  Well, I have to say that not one of these sisters have forgotten.  The fact that they take the time to still read my blog and keep up with me and how I'm doing showed was such an example of Christ and of "mourning with those that mourn."  For those of you who weren't dealt this hand in life, (whomever you are), I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for still choosing to be my partner and "play" alongside me, even when I'm losing.

Along with all the warmth and compassion I received, the message of the night was amazing and so applicable to me.  It was about the song, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day, and how that it came about.  If you get a chance I strongly recommend looking up the story online one day.  The semi-quick version is that the song was written by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  At the time, America was in the midst of Civil war and hundreds of young men were being sent to their graves way too early.  In 1861, His wife was fatally burned in an accident and he was severely injured.  It turned out that he was too ill from his burns and grief to attend her funeral.  The first Christmas after his wife's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." A year after the incident, he wrote, "I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace." Longfellow's journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: "A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me." Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded. The Christmas of 1863 was silent in Longfellow's journal.  His son did not end up dying that Christmas, but survived. Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, "Christmas Bells."  (Which then became the song, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.)

At the end of the video message we all received a bell with 2 verses of the song attached.  The one that stood out to me the most, the last verse of the song, says,

"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

I loved it...God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!  That means my Hailey is not dead, nor doth she sleep, either!  There was a point that I told a friend of mine that if it weren't for Lexi, I would probably just skip Christmas this year.  I felt as Longfellow did when he said in his journal, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays."  And then it HIT selfish am I.  Christmas isn't about me or Lexi or presents, but it's about the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  How could I be so willing to just skip over and ignore His birthday?  Of all the Christmases I've ever celebrated in my lifetime, this is the ONE that I should celebrate the MOST!  As I read in one of my church magazines, "He was born that man no more may die."  Because of that, this Christmas should me more to me than ever! 

Of course, I'm human and not perfect.  (Sorry to let you all down! ha ha!) And there are many days that I still feel devastated that Hailey is not here physically to celebrate all the fun Christmas traditions with us.  I still ache to see her little face light up as she looks at all the Christmas lights and says, "Mommy, it's beau'ful!" And it kills me that I won't get to see the excitement in her face as she goes to bed on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come.  I still don't know how I'm going to hold it together Christmas morning when I don't get to hear her squeal as she opens her own pack of mini-bags of Lays potato chips.  (Yes, seriously, that was her favorite gift last year!!!)  However, no one will ever convince me that she won't be sitting right there in that room with us on Christmas morning celebrating those traditions with us.  But I also believe that she now understands the TRUE meaning of Christmas and will be celebrating in Heaven beyond our imaginations. 

So in her honor and more importantly, in the honor of my Savior, Jesus Christ and His birthday, I will celebrate Christmas this year by giving Him the greatest birthday gift He would ever want...service.  We have adopted a family in Hailey's honor and plan to give them the BEST Christmas ever!  I am really excited about it! So keep checking in to see how it goes!

This Christmas season, please remember:

A few pictures from last Christmas:
The girls with Santa.

My beautiful girls.

Our family.

Hailey checking out the tree.

Hailey's favorite gift!

Trying out her new potty!



  1. I think it is amazing how reading your blog post just reminded me of so me of the IMPORTANT meanings of Christmas. Thank you so much.

  2. Hi Wendy! Thank you for your post! I've been anxiously awaiting it!! I wanted to tell you that I still pray for you and your family daily. Until I "met" you, I always used to tell people that I'd keep them in my prayers, but as time passed, my problems always came back to the forefront, and their prayer requests were forgotten. For some reason, God stops me in my daily routine, and reminds me to pray for you. I'm a single mom, and often fall into those moments of self-pity, but then I read your blog, and see how my problems pale in comparison to all you've been through. I instantly stop myself, and pray for you. (And not to sound crazy, but sometimes after I read your posts, I talk to Hailey. I tell her to stop playing for awhile, and go to Mommy because she needs you. I guess it's the teacher in me!?!) At night, I've been reading Christmas stories to my (almost) 1 year old daughter. I talk to her about Jesus, and Hailey. She knows that Hailey is a very special girl who gets to spend Christmas with Jesus this year. I tell my Alison that one day we'll get to meet Jesus and play with Hailey in Heaven. She points to Hailey's picture on my computer and smiles. I just wanted you to know that for some reason God wants me to keep an eye on you. I don't understand why me, or why you, (not that I'm bothered, in fact, I'm honored) but I believe God is using me now for this purpose. I've never felt this way before, in fact, I lost faith in God for a short time, but your posts are helping me, and renewing my faith. That's why I'm so thankful. God Bless You-always! Sending you peace, love, and strength, Beth

  3. Wendy, Thank you for reminding us why we celebrate Christmas, I think we always forget the real meaning. I am so glad you went to your Christmas dinner with your "sisters". I think about you guys all the time and look forward to your next post. Stay strong !

  4. Wow, your post really got me. I have been kind of not really in the Christmas spirit lately. Thanks for your words to why we should really celebrate for Jesus Christs birth and all those little angels up there. I look at your blog every couple of days and YES, we all are caring and loving your family. Merry Christmas! Love Kristy B.

  5. As the others have commented, thanks for the reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. It's a shame that too often we get so focused on the trivial issues at hand. I've been dealing with some nonsense in my life and your post is just what I needed to refocus. None of that little stuff matters. It just doesn't. I'm blessed with my family and eternal life thanks to Jesus Christ. So thank you for the wonderful words you've written this time. You have a gift.

    Merry Christmas Wendy & Sean! We'll be praying for peace for you on that morning. I know you'll be ok, with Jesus'help. ;)