I've written before about how this time of year is difficult-and anyone who has experienced grief of any kind knows it. But for most "normal" grief, the first Christmas is the hardest and it gets easier from there. Not so with child loss.
This is my fifth Christmas without my son and although in a lot of ways through those years it has passed through bearable to almost arrive at borderline enjoyable, the pre-Christmas build up is still so hard. That is because it is an acute reminder of all the things we are not doing right now. I put the tree up last weekend alone, Bertie wasn't here to "help" me. The fact it is beautiful in it's female-adult-only creation only adds to it's offence. My fridge door is a stark white reminder that he hasn't drawn me a picture of a wonky Christmas tree, an angel with an oversized head and and a not-to-scale santa trying to fit down our chimney. We haven't taken him to meet santa- for the first time...or the second...or the third. I didn't get to buy the advent house I wanted with little drawers to fill with daily treats to create special memories. I'm not seeing his face light up at the decorations, and we aren't dancing around the house together to Shakin' Stevens. I can sit smug having finished all my shopping in November because I don't have to panic-buy the last minute gift he has asked santa for. Yesterday I did Christmas jumper day at work...he didn't join in at pre-school.
And so on....
And I know, there are things missing like this all year round. The problem with Christmas is that everyone else is doing all this all at once. And talking about it...and posting pictures of it on social media. There's no escape from the constant reminders of exactly what we are missing. Christmas is huge. But ours is small. Because the little guy that should be making our Christmas huge is not here.