Also, this is another Christmas without Ewan. I don't find it useful or particularly meaningful to use words like "better" or "worse" or "easier" or "harder" when it comes to comparing holidays since he died. This will be the second and frankly, it still hurts like hell. Every day is a day I wake up with the awareness of the would-have-beens and could-have-beens that will remain just that: unfulfilled potentials, unrealized hopes, and pleasant dreams that never came true. Every day is a day where I am an anomaly as a first-time parent.
But this is Christmastime, and everything about it is meant to be special.
At a time when people are hanging stockings, buying gifts, and capturing moments on camera of kids tearing into their presents, I'm thinking of the one who will never get to do that with us. I'm thinking of those moments James and I will never get to witness. We will never see Ewan's eyes go wide when we hold him up for a better look at the Christmas tree. We won't stand in line with him to see Santa, or snap a picture of him fast asleep with an arm around his Christmas prizes. Years from now, we won't be able to look back on photo albums of Christmases past and laugh at the memories we made.
Austen's presence delights us to no end, but it hit me this morning like a two-by-four to the head that I will never have all my family in one place: not for the everyday mundane, and not for Christmas either. Even for all the joy she brings, that joy comes with a sharp edge. We will never see these or any other siblings together. And now we are over 3,000 miles away from where he is buried; we cannot easily take Austen for a visit, or all go and visit his grave to place a little stocking or candy cane or anything. It will be a long time before we can all be in one place, even in the cemetery.
Today, I don't really care if those boxes ever come down from their perch in the garage. So instead I'm holding this brokenness today, not knowing what else to do but to let it hurt.