It’s been proven that being grateful helps cultivate happiness. I have tried to continue being grateful and although I will mention my gratitude for things here and there, with the onset of the holiday season it has been difficult to keep positive all day, every day. Sometimes it’s hard to remember one thing that makes my heart sing, that makes me happy or thankful in a day. And I know that’s on me, because there are plenty of things that happen in a day, I’m just not taking the time to express my thanks and happiness.
Everything that I had planned- Christmas photo cards with our family, Millie’s first Christmas, decorating the tree as a family of four- none of these are happening as planned. This time last year we were sharing the good news of Millie. Now we are navigating our first holiday without her.
We decorated the tree the other night and while we kept a smile for MC, Chouchou and I both expressed our sorrow for what is not. MC caught us in a teary conversation at one point, to which she promptly sat in Choucou’s lap, touched her hand to his cheek and in all seriousness and caring said, “You not feel well? You miss Millie?”
Chouchou and I have discussed our feelings about grief at the holiday season. He doesn’t want to be melancholy every Christmas season. I agree. But, I told him, this is our first holiday season since our stillbirth, and we have to allow ourselves the space and time to grieve. We just have to watch ourselves and not allow it to consume us.
Sometimes I feel like it does, like I get stuck in this cycle and can’t find the exit sign…I miss Millie and that makes me sad, and then I get incredibly upset that there are things in this world that I am simply not in control of. I have to learn to let it go, and that is extremely hard for me to do.
We took our Christmas photo yesterday morning and for the love of mistletoe, I couldn’t get all of us to smile at the same time. Well, genuinely smile. Chouchou and I went back and forth whether to write a letter or not and then how to sign it. We finally decided to just sign it with our family name and no letter.
For all of those things that make me feel helpless, sad, and upset, there are many things for which to be grateful:
- Unseasonably warm days
- Changes of pace
- Family – for their love, patience, and honesty
- Friends – for their love and patience
- Christmas cards from near and far reminding us we are loved
- Texts from those near and far who are thinking of us at this time of year