I had premonitions about this Christmas.
Perhaps I should have paid more attention.
I was asked to write our Team’s Holiday letter to our nonprofit clients.
My colleagues rejected it for being too sad.
“It’s not sad,” I said, “it’s realistic. Look at everything going on right now. I can’t possible send a cheery, all is well with the world letter. It would not be honest.”
“Heather, I read this and felt terrible.”
Fine, fine, fine….to their defense, as I was writing the San Bernardino shooting was unfolding so it might have been a touch melancholy.
The next day I did my knee in.
This is not the end of the world but I do tend to work out my angst by working out. I also like cookies. And I tend to work those out too. There has been no working out in December; hence my overindulgence of cookies and angst.
I knew I was going in on a blue streak and I think I was okay with that. Not every Christmas in my life has been happy.
One Christmas Eve was spent at relatives in Illinois. There was a HUGE pile of presents under the tree and all I got was a crappy Candy Land. I cried hysterically because my cousin got a Baby-Burps a lot AND matching Baby Burps A lot outfits!
My mother drug me out of my Aunt’s house apologetically telling everyone I was fine, just a tad overstimulated.
Overstimulated my foot. I totally got jipped. Forty years later and I still have an aversion to Candy Land.
Stupid Gumdrop Mountain.
That was a blue Christmas.
Another time the whole family got the stomach flu at my Grandma’s house. She only had two bathrooms. Green Christmas.
But I wasn’t quite prepared for this Christmas.
The 23rd greeted me with the loss of two of our Littles in the special needs community. Two in one day….two too many.
Seven too many this year.
I stood in the shower that morning watching the soap circle the drain thinking ‘I don’t know how to process this much loss.’
While scrubbing my feet I decided 2016 was a great year to return to therapy. I do love therapy and an hour to talk about me and only me. But more important was the realization that this community has a lot of unbelievable loss- loss that needs to be acknowledged but cannot be carried alone.
The Christmas after we lost Samantha, some good friends found a spot on a tiny island in British Columbia and planted a tree in her memory. The tree was a Charlie Brown spruce with a tuft of needles reminiscent of Samantha's crazy hair.
Our friends hike up to "Sammy's Point" every Christmas to hang an ornament and take a picture of how her tree has grown.
This year they placed an ornament in memory of our other Littles too.
Thank you great Northern Friends.
I don't know how to close out this holiday. My heart breaks for these parents and how their lives have changed.
And I fear we might all get stuck in Molasses Swamp with the infamous Grandma Nutt when all we wanted was a Baby Burps A lot.