The Christmas season has been difficult for me for many years. My daughter should be turning 12 this year. Instead, I place an ornament on the tree for her front and center. Reminding me that a star shines bright for her. I keep waiting for the ache to dull…somehow, it never does. Every time I hear her name, place her ornament, see a girl her age, a million other things, a sword…not a dagger jams through my heart and spins, gouging the freshly healed hole.
This January will mark the 5 year anniversary of my son’s brain injury. In many ways it is a celebration yet in some ways I can not explain the amount of mourning I am in. There is no way to truly grieve a child who is still alive. I often hear how lucky I am he is still alive given that he was given his last rites. I am grateful for him, his effort to recover, this strength, his tenacity. I mourn the child he was, the dreams he had, the future he wished for, his independence. I mourn for the infant they placed in my arms the day he was born. He is not that same child. He carries the same eyes but not the same spark that was in them.
Several years ago, I made the decision not to have a relationship with my parents as they were toxic for me. I felt in order to make a mentally healthy life for myself, I needed to separate from them. I didn’t know if that would be a permanent decision or until I was healthy. What I didn’t know in making that decision was I would lose my entire family. I would lose my siblings as they would feel that they were “cheating” on my parents talking to me. I felt I needed to remove myself from my Grandparents in order to not make them “in betweens.”
Last year at this time, my son asked if we could have Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma’s. I swallowed my pride and told him of course we could. I never wanted him to be effected by my relationship with my parents and made that clear to them. I contacted my Mother and relayed that my son would like to attend Christmas and asked if we could come. She said she would be happy to have my family. About a week later I had a Facebook voicemail from my Mother. I didn’t know you could buttdial on Messenger but you can. The voicemail was a conversation relay discussion a family conversation about how I had finally decided to put my son above myself and do what was best for him and come to Christmas. It continued on about what a bitch I was and how horrible my family was. That was the last time I heard my Mother’s voice.
The hole in my chest gets bigger when the calendar hits December and I don’t know how to make it stop.