I am happy to report that Christmas this year went much better than last year! I'm not going to go as far as saying it was easy or my heart didn't ache like crazy, but it was actually bearable this time. Partially because of our big announcement to my family: The little angel Hailey has sent us is a BOY!!! (I'll give more details and my feelings on this little bundle of joy in my next post.)
As for Christmas, I think the anticipation was much, much worse than the actual day. I just kept thinking of how ridiculously heart wrenching and excruciatingly painful last year was, which caused me to be terrified for this year. I remember sleeping for 5 hours that day, while the rest of my family took care of my girls. Then, that evening laying in a ball on my bathroom floor and crying so hard I got a bloody nose. But, this year, now that all is said and done, I must say I'm a little proud of myself and how far I've come! Yes, it hurt. And yes, I wondered all day about Hailey and how she would have fit into the mix had she been here. And yes, I missed her like absolute crazy. But, no, not in a hopeless, depressing way. Instead, I felt hopeful and a sense of peace in my heart for my little angel.
I decided to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and what that really means for Hailey and my family. Because of such a profound event, one like none other, Hailey and I will be back together again one day in total happiness. Not to mention, that I'm sure her Christmas was much more "beau'ful" than I could even begin to imagine from here. I know, literally without a shadow of a doubt, that she still lives and is happier in Heaven than she could ever be here on the Earth. Not that it always makes it easy on me or that I'm completely okay with it, but that knowledge will do for now.
Last night, on Christmas Eve, we brought down our life sized cardboard cutout of Hailey and sat it in a chair in our living room. Of course, that may seem very weird, or even crazy, to some people, but it really brought a huge sense of peace to me. Last year, I couldn't even look at it of without being reduced to sobs, but this year it made me smile! I honestly felt like she was right there with us, which I know she was. And she will continue to sit with us every Christmas from now until we meet again! I know that when the day comes that I'll get to see her and hold her in my arms, she'll remember every Christmas we had since she was gone, because she really never was gone!
We still include Hailey in all of our family things. For example, our yearly ornament exchange; every year we each pick a family member, in secret, and buy them an ornament representing something from that year. Well, we do still include Hailey in that exchange, and always will. I want her to have her own ornaments and continue to be represented on our tree, as we all are. We also take whatever money we would have used to buy her Christmas gifts and donate it to our foundation in her honor.
Of course, we went to visit her today at her place and it was absolutely "beau'ful. The cemetery couldn't have been more peaceful and beautifully decorated. Not to mention, all the wonderful people who stopped by and dropped off little tokens and notes of love! It made my day to think that others would take the time to remember her and us on such a special day. I also found a dime there!! As most of you know, we just got over having 5 straight days of torrential rains, which basically destroyed her place. I still stopped by every day or two to clean up what I could, even though it was raining. We always had 2 loose dimes, tails up, laying on her headstone that someone had left there while visiting. Well, after the rains they were long gone and no where to be found. I was there yesterday and dug all around her stone, cleaned up all the leaves, wiped all her little knickknacks off and polished her stone to perfection! Then I left a huge bouquet of flowers and an adorable Santa and reindeer balloon. Well, today when we came back to visit, I walked over to her stone and sure enough there was a dime, half buried in the dirt, by the upper corner of her stone. She was there...I know it!
Anyways, thank you all so very much for your supportive words, emails, texts, phone calls, letters, and silent prayers. Each one made an impression on my heart and helped me to have a "beau'ful" day!
Hailey with us on Christmas.
Hailey is sending us a little boy!
Hailey's Place decorated with love.
Merry Christmas Sweet Angel
Can you see the tiny dime in the upper right hand corner of her stone?
It looks like she's happy with her decorations!
(Her Christmas tree even has solar powered lights that come on at night!)
We miss you baby girl.
Lexi with her little sister.
Grammies and Grampies