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There are times that I really do feel like The Little Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe. I even call our little house "The Shoe". I am a stay at home mom. I do really think that was my calling. My kids are 13, 10, 10, (yes they are twins) and 5. Our life is an adventure, most times it really is a beautiful adventure.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Our Split- Personality Christmas

     Gabriel, you taught us how to love in ways that we had never known. 
 You taught us that even the finality of death cannot 
touch the love that we feel for you. 
 Death could take you, but never our love for you.  
There is not a day goes past that our hearts do not ache missing you,
 and yet there is not a day that goes past that we 
are not thankful you were in our lives, 
even if just for that little while.  
You were a blessing, you were a gift.

     Today is a rough day for us, today 8 years ago at 5:05 p.m. my oldest son Gabriel passed away.  I waited for that Christmas miracle that never came.  It forever altered Christmas Eve for my family.
Christmas Eve has a split personality for us, it is magical and wondrous for the kids, but painful and exhausting for us.  Christmas Eve is about our living Children and the magic of Santa, but it's also the day that Gabriel was taken from us.  Today we celebrate both.
    We work hard to make sure that Grace, Riley, Rowan and Elly remember their brother with love, I never want to make him larger than life, an unattainable ghost.  To me to make him into something he was not is disrespectful to him.  He was a 9 year old boy a little more than a month away from his 10th birthday.  He was smart and funny, kind and a kid.  He did naughty things, he talked back, he was the Gabe that we loved.  To make him anything else in memory would be to say that the Gabe we knew was not good enough, and he was good enough, he was the perfect him.
    On Christmas Eve we go up to the cemetery at 5:00 p.m.  We have a tacky silver tree set up at his grave.  He would have picked that awful thing out himself, that's why we got it.  We have the tree decorated with solar lights and christmas ornaments.  We sing Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.  The weeks before he died, Gabe was constantly singing that song, to the point that I thought I would go out of my mind if he sang it one more time.  The song that drove me crazy now brings me to tears, but is a must up on the hill (what we call the cemetery).  We share a Coke in a glass bottle (he loved those), and we lift it up to the sky and say "This one's for you Gabe."  At 5:05 we stop and just rember that amazing little boy that we were blessed to have in our lives.  We thank our friends and family for coming to support us, and by 5:20 we are back down the hill and home.
    The rest of Christmas Eve is dedicated to our living children.  We play BINGO, with prizes.  We smash our gingerbread houses with a hammer and the kids eat them.  We have a fire in our backyard fireplace and roast marshmallows and hot dogs.  The kids get all dressed in their winter clothes and sprinkle the reindeer food that we have made that afternoon.   The kid's leave cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer.  We devote ourselves to the kids and making Christmas magic for them, even though we feel like razor blades have cut through our soul.  We suck it up and pretend, and sometimes that pretending leads to actual joy.
    When the kid's have finally settled into their beds, Christopher and I crack open the wine.  We stop pretending and just melt into each other.  Often we say very little, but just seek comfort in the knowledge that our soul mate knows our pain without needing to put it into words.  In the quiet house with my husband's arm firmly wrapped around my shoulder I remember my precious boy.  I do not remember that poor little boy all swollen and black and blue, covered in tubes and attached to machines, barely recognizable.  I remember that funny not so little boy hopping around so excited about Christmas.  That beautiful boy who loved his little sister and was so excited to finally have a baby brother, and a new baby sister.  When I think of Gabe, I think of asking him to keep an eye on the babies (Riley and Rowan) who were asleep in their little seats while I went up and put Gracie to bed.  I came downstairs to see Gabe holding Rowan in his arms, just staring down at him, and Rowan trying to focus his eyes on his big adoring brother.  When he saw that I was down the stairs, he casually told me "Rowan woke up."  He just sat there basking in his big kid status, holding that most cherished little brother.  He had big plans for the things he was going to teach his little brother.  When I think of my Gabe that is the boy I think of.
    In the end it will be a good Christmas, it always is.  We remember all of our children, and love them all and try to do right by all five of them.  Love does not end in death, it continues just as strong as in life.  We love the kids, all five the same but differently, that does not change.  Our Christmas Eve is not all sadness and despair, it is love.  I get great joy in watching my babies see the magic.  How can you dwell in what could and should have been, live in grief when all around you is joy and laugher?  How could I not see Grace, Riley, Rowan and Elly vibrating with excitement and not have that rub off?  See what I mean by "split personality"?  We have joy and sadness all rolled into one, and will have until the day I die, that is our Christmas Eve.
   To you I say, thank you for reading my blog.  I love to write it, and it gives me great pleasure to know that you read it, and some of you pass it along to your friends.  To you I say Merry Christmas.  My Christmas wish for you is that you see the blessings in your life and focus on them instead of what you don't have.  Find your joy and live in it.

 Merry Christmas!


  1. you suck for making me cry!! i will never forget the day that my little man came into my life and the day that i will never forget him!!! just know that i am forever with you!!! but it coldn't hurt you to come visit!!! hows that for family guilt!!!!

  2. This post is so powerful and moving. What a wonderful tribute to your son and your family. A bittersweet celebration. Your ritual reminds me of the year my husband did a peacekeeping mission in Cyprus and we met in Germany over Christmas. On Christmas eve in the village we were in we saw families walking down the streets with lanterns. We went to a church service and when we were on our way home we saw that all the lanterns had been placed in the cematery. When we asked the local people what this was about they said that it is a tradition in their village to take lanterns to the graveyard on Christmas eve....sing carols to them and leave the lanterns in their memory. I thought this was so beautiful. My thoughts are with you as I know that grief is a journey. Touched....Nessie

    1. Thank you Lochness Lass. What a beautiful tradition they have, thank you for sharing it.