Christmas at Jude’s place

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This was our view today from “Jude’s place”, as our boys call it. We now know that visiting a grave is not only a part of our everyday lives, but it’s now a normal part of our holidays and celebrations. It’s how we feel we can include our youngest boy in the special moments when he is missed so tangibly. We love this spot. And our boys love it too. They like to touch his name on the marker, and then run around being boys, enjoying the nearby lake, gathering sticks and leaves, making this a place of family memories. How grateful we are to know that the baby’s birth we celebrated today is the reason we will see our son again.

-Shannon

15 months and an absence at Christmas

Christmas is filled with so many wonderful memories for us. It’s a magical time in which no other part of the year can really compare. What is it about a big tree and twinkling lights that does a heart so good? And while our still fairly new -15 months – path of grief is one we travel daily, we are wondering how we can incorporate our Jude into our Christmas life.

There are actually many reasons we can come up with to boycott the festivities. “The most wonderful time of the year” is a sentiment that no longer holds the same meaning as it once did for our untouched hearts. But now we have to decide what choice to make. Do we allow our grief and missing of Jude to destroy what was once so precious to us – and thus destroy it for our boys too? Or are there choices we can make that will satisfy the hunger I have to be a mommy to Jude as well as my other boys? We came up with a couple of ideas for this second Christmas without Jude here.

I have to admit that dragging down the boxes of Christmas decorations was more a chore than a delight this year. But one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done is to buy a little tree and decorations for Jude’s marker.

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After putting it up, it made me so happy to know that this was how we could include him in our celebrations. I was able to “do” something for him, which is really the hardest thing I deal with on a daily basis in my grief for him. And we were able to do this as a family, so the boys also delighted in being able to bring Jude’s place a piece of the merriment that they have at home. It really felt so good to this Momma’s heart.

Another piece that we’ve incorporated is adding a stocking for Jude on our family mantle. As stockings have really come to represent the members of the family more than a container for treats, we knew that our mantle would not be complete without Jude included.

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While these little acts don’t take away the longing for our boy, or the grief that is now a part of us, it does help to know that we can let this be a testament to how much he is a part of us. Always.

– Shannon