|I like to think Ty has been spending a LOT of time here this Crimpy season|
Every Christmas with him was pure beauty – even after his cancer diagnosis. He was only 3 months for his first Christmas, but that didn’t stop us from having several different Christmas outfit changes in one day, and about 15 “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments adorned the tree. It was so exciting to finally have a baby in the house on Christmas morning! The next Christmas he was walking, and on his third Christmas he had his little brother crawling around to celebrate with him. In 2010 we celebrated his first Christmas post-diagnosis knowing that he had 3 new tumors in his spine and would likely lose his battle just weeks later. BUT HE DIDN’T. Those tumors (or whatever it was on that MRI) miraculously disappeared and our baby began to thrive in 2011. By the next Christmas he was scooting across the floor to open present after present – practically back on his feet for the first time in over a year. What a gift from God that was! I never believed in Santa Clause more!
Then, by Christmas 2012 he was gone. Just GONE. Where is he? For real? I know, I know, his spirit is all around us and Heaven is a wonderous place, but I can't sit here and make pretend it doesn't blow my mind to have my baby here with me one day, and simply gone the next. Leaving me here to keep putting one foot in front of the other and live this life that has turned out to be very different than what I planned. I have learned that life is like that. Plain and simple. Life is hard and bad things happen to good people and I have no choice but to completely accept that. Life is also absolutely, breathtakingly, beautiful. A gift.
I don’t remember a single bit of Christmas 2012. I don’t even know how we did it – but I guess we had to do it for Gavin. We had a tree, I suppose. Bought him gifts. I don’t remember any of it. Last year was a little better because Gavin was 4 and really started believing in Santa Claus, but it’s still pretty blurry. Yesterday morning, was totally great; but I would be lying if I said I was genuinely happy. I can’t ever be 100% happy as long as the weight of his absence is all around us (which it will be forever). Gavin, on the other hand, was SOOOO happy. He loved all of his gifts and seemed so surprised by all of the leave-behinds from Santa (including the letter he left by the empty plate of cookies, and the footsteps by the fireplace). It was so fun to watch him open all of those toys. As he played quietly in his toy room for hours on end, I couldn't help but try to imagine how much louder it would be if Ty was here to play with him. There is so much less excitement in the house, it’s hard to explain. The silence is just another reminder of how things are not as they should be.
I am not trying to sit here and write about the gloom and doom of life. Not at all, and I hope it doesn't sound that way. Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love it still. I love it for Gavin and I love it for TY! I make sure he is remembered and I smile real smiles when filling his stocking with blue lollipops and chocolate coins. I close my eyes, shut out the world, and I hear his voice. It is beautiful and I know I am blessed. Not the least of my blessings are the people who have surrounded me during my most difficult days.
That first Christmas with cancer, our life was a complete whirlwind of hospital stays, clinic visits, chemotherapy, at-home care, scans, bad news, more bad news, moving into a new house, frantically rushing off to Disney for our Make-A-Wish trip, welcoming Mely into our family, and relishing in the generosity of friends and strangers who loved us and took care of us in any way they could. I rarely cooked because meals were constantly delivered to our front door (thank you!). I was spared having to go shopping during the frantic holidays because our incredible friends in Long Beach sent us boxes and boxes of gifts for Gavin and Ty – already wrapped – and that Christmas morning, Lou and I enjoyed the surprises just as much as the boys did. We didn’t have to decorate our house because when we pulled up to our new house after our Disney trip it was lit up from top to bottom in the most elaborate decorations I’ve ever had (I can’t even begin to tell you how much Ty loved that). PEOPLE ARE AWESOME, RIGHT? Now that is what Christmas is all about.
This was the first year we had Ty's urn. It took a long time for the artist to complete it, and he sits on our bedroom dresser - exactly where he belongs. On a whim, I remembered this tiny hat and scarf that adorned a bottle of wine that was gifted to us last year (thank you, Mellissa!) and I placed it on him. It's totally silly, I know, and maybe you think it's weird. All I know is that Ty would have thought this was sooo funny, and that alone makes me incredibly happy. This is sure to become a tradition of sorts :) On Christmas morning we visited his statue in Magnolia Park and did the same thing. Ty, baby, I know you love it! We do, too...
Merry Christmas friends. Thank you always for your love and support. XOXOXO.