Rowie loved Christmas. This is the second Christmas that I have not looked forward to since 1987 when Francis descended upon us! I have made a conscious decision. The time has come to turn things around if I can.
Last year we dreaded it; we hoped it would go away; we tried to ignore it. We compromised. We didn’t decorate; we didn’t have a tree. We had an understated Christmas lunch, just the three of us; Francis, Chris and I. We set a place for Rowie so he didn’t feel left out if he decided to pop in. We certainly didn’t celebrate. Boxing Day was horrendous. We went up to school and put some flowers by his memorial plaques there. We cried some; it rained some. We hoped the day would dissolve in front of our eyes. We spent most of the anniversary down in Pounawea with Francis and Maree; a rainy, miserable day as expected.
People have been saying to me ‘no point in saying have a good Christmas, just get through it the best you can’. Plans have been to make no more of it than last year. This year Chris is working Christmas Day night anyway so he will be asleep most of Christmas Day. Boxing Day is his first day off so we will eat Christmas fare then. Hopefully Francis and Maree might join us.
It is so easy to slip into this self-loathing, self-pitying state of mind. It is far harder to pull yourself out of it and turn things around.
Rowan loved Christmas. Isn’t it kinder on him to make a bit of an effort to celebrate as we would have done if he had still been here? Are we making him feel sad by bemoaning and grieving our way through the festive season?
OK, no tree again; just the blossom tree that stands guard by our ‘big Rowie picture’ throughout the year. His wee bird’s nest that was his ‘special’ Christmas decoration, has stayed on his casket throughout this year. The beautiful decorations that he festooned the house with in 2012 stay boxed up and invisible. I’m guessing they might make an appearance again when a new young life comes into our family again.
I love my children as hard as any mother can love her children. Francis came into our lives after a miscarriage and many years of hoping – an exceptional gift. Rowan came into our lives eight years later, much anticipated, much loved – an exceptional gift. For those of you that are yet to experience the love that a mother has for her child, believe me when I tell you that ‘unconditional love’ doesn’t begin to describe the feeling that you have for these exceptional gifts. In the moment that they are born you realise what life is all about; you understand why you are here and what it is that you are here to do.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to allow the love for these tiny souls to fill your heart and to allow their souls to connect with your soul; to hold them close and to let them know how very important they are to you and the world. This mission is both the hardest thing you will ever do and the easiest too. To do right by them is hard. No-one teaches you how to be a parent. It is only when you are a parent yourself that you realise just how enormous this job is that you have taken on.
But although enormous, this job is the most rewarding and important job a soul can do.