As Christmas was getting closer, I just wanted the holidays to be over. No, I did not want to celebrate, nor did I want to open presents. It may sound really cold, but trying to open presents knowing that Heather was not here seemed unbearable for me. She LOVED Christmas so much. The gifts were picked with care for all the girls. I poured so much love into Christmas. How could I celebrate when my baby, my child, my daughter, my heart was gone. I know, I had other children and a granddaughter and I needed to do for all of them. My head understood that but my heart was having a problem wrapping around that idea.
Going into the stores was just about unbearable for me. As I watched the other families shopping and the kids begging for gifts I was transported back to Christmas’ past. Then if I did manage to find something to purchase, I had the dreaded task of enduring the checkout line. The cashier would ask how my day was going, if I had plans for the holidays and finally if I had all my Christmas shopping finished. Most of the time I smiled and said yes, or said I did not have much planned. I would not stand there and try to explain why I just wanted the holidays to go far far away. A member of my family was missing forever.
For the rest of my life I would be the kid outside in the cold looking through the window at the family all sitting down together and laughing. I would look through the window with longing in my heart and tears in my eyes at something I no longer had; a complete family. The holidays were extremely hard and everything from television commercials to stores to churches were talking about the family gathering for the holidays. The Christmas cards from family and friends with the family photos of the vacations and events just pulled at my heart even more. It was all around me and I could not get away from it.
With Christmas over the New Year had arrived. We mostly stayed home and off the roads to bring in the New Year. In 2008, I had wanted the year to be over and being a new year so badly. My thought was that 2009, could not be any worse than 2008, had been. Boy was I wrong. Never again would I state that the coming year could not be worse than the events of a past year. I never dreamed that cancer would actually NOT be the worst thing that ever happened to me. My eyes were opened wide when reality hit me in the face when Heather died.
With 2009, just about to end and the beginning of 2010, I would be headed into the last few months before the one year anniversary of her death. I was about to experience the last of the firsts. As 2009 ended so did the last year that my daughter was alive. I had new memories and photos of Heather alive in 2009, but only had the past memories in 2010, and the remaining new years that come to be.
(Confessions of a Grieving Mother Blog) Friday, January 1, 2010
It is officially 2010—so now what??? Last New Year’s Eve I said to myself I will be so happy for 2008 to be over with. It had been a very stressful year; family troubles, Bill lost his job, Heather was sick and we don’t know why, Heather was diagnosed with cancer and begins treatments, and Wendy was pregnant. I said to myself nothing could happen in 2009 to beat the year we had just had. Boy was I ever wrong.
In my wildest dreams I never ever imagined that Heather would die in 2009. I also figured it would be years of in and out of remission and treatments till finally the cancer took her. I never thought that 2 forms of pneumonia, the flu and ARDS would take her. She had beaten the cancer and was still in remission at the time of her death. I guess that is one reason why it was so hard to wrap my brain around it.
2009 began with the excitement that Heather was going back to school to focus on what she wanted to be with her career. There was a new baby girl being added to our family. Life was good for that moment in time. Heather was full of energy and hope. I mistakenly thought that all the hard stuff was behind us for a time.
I explained it this way the other day; the Sherry that everyone knew prior to April 20th, 2009 was gone. All the things that made me who I was are altered now. I am not nor will I ever be the same person again. I am a new and different Sherry that was not the person anyone knew before. I needed people to be patient and take the time to get to know the new me. Right now all I could do was focus on the moment. It was a good day if I got up and I was dressed. Anything else that I did was an added bonus. It took so much energy and effort to grieve.