I had anxiety the other night, in fact I have had anxiety for several days without knowing why. Then it hit me, the holiday cards. How do I sign our holiday cards? What do I write for our family?
The Lands Family? I could write our names as a whole and not acknowledge our names individually, that would sum is up.
Chris, Amie, Ruthie Lou, Reid? I could include ALL our names, this IS my family.
Chris, Amie, Reid? I could write our three names because that's who remains living.
I had anxiety nearly a week thinking about the damn holiday cards, the ones I wish Ruthie Lou were pictured with us...more than just a ladybug. I went with my heart, I went with what felt right. Chris, Amie, Ruthie Lou, Reid. THIS is my family, will forever be my family. Including Ruthie Lou's name does not mean I am pretending she's alive, I am not trying to "force" her on anyone but when I think of my family, we are a family of four. I could never NOT include her name. And just as all parents write their children's name on behalf of them on their holiday (or whatever) cards, I will do the same. I am writing on behalf of Reid and on behalf of Ruthie Lou, my children.
The next morning I woke up anxiety dissipated, having made a decision only to see the news: Sandy Hook Elementary. I am a teacher. I am responsible for the safety of almost 30 students, other people's children every single day. I am a parent, a parent whose first child passed away. The anxiety returned. I cannot watch the news, I cannot speak of the horrendous acts bestowed by a very very sick man. I cannot feel the pain of those families, because I know it all too well. I feel it every day and it's terrifying.
My heart aches and aches and aches for them. My first thought was that those poor families had no notice that their morning good bye would be their last. They were not holding their child as they died. I hate to think that we were given blessings in Ruthie Lou's death but I would be lying if I said we were. We KNEW she would die, we were given three weeks notice. We KNEW to treasure and value each moment, each milestone, each day we woke to see her beautiful face. And we held her as she left her earthly body. My biggest fear in her death was that it would be in her sleep. Many of us think we would want for ourselves, but not for my child. I wanted her to feel the safety, the love and our warmth, that she was not alone and we were not afraid to be there for her in every moment of her life as well as the moment we were expected to release her to the next place, after this life. This choice was stolen for the Sandy Hook parents. The thoughts of those children crying for their parents haunts me.
I could not decide how to write our names on a holiday card hours before TWENTY + PARENTS joined the worst club of all. The Child Loss Parent Club. Nobody wants to be part of this club, especially those of us here. I cannot think of this tragedy too long, it is too real and too heavy for my brain, too new still and brings up too much (as I'm sure many parents feel the same about our family). Even when you have lost your own child, you still don't want to imagine it for anyone else because there is nothing worse to imagine in this life.
Every year, those parents will have to decide how to sign a damn holiday card;
Will I offend anyone?
Am I pretending she (he) is alive?
Am I grieving "correctly"?
Are people judging me?
I hate this club. My heart is broken. Again.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.