Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why Does it Hurt More at Christmas?

I was surprised by the fact that Christmas was harder for Tonya and I, from a grief standpoint, than a "regular" day.  I certainly understand why that is the case for people who lose loved ones, especially children, with whom they have shared previous Christmases.  They have memories that probably make things harder.  But that wasn't the case for us as we were never given that blessing.  So I didn't think we would feel any differently on Christmas than we would any other day.  But we did.  It hurt more.

Maybe it was because there was a stocking hung on our mantle with Anastasha's name on it, but it remained empty.  Or maybe it was because we baked her a birthday cake for Jesus too (all the kids make one), even though she wouldn't get to lick the frosting.  Or maybe because we couldn't tie a little Christmas bow on her head like I've seen on so many cute little baby girl patients of mine in recent weeks.

I'm not really sure why, but I suspect the main reason is because, for us, Christmas is such a "huddling up" time as a family.  We really try to minimize outside distractions and, for a least a few days, spend some very good quality a family.

Yet this year there was a void...her void.  Yes, I know we have 8 other children.  That should be enough, right?  It isn't a numbers thing.  We are of course so blessed with the living children that we have.  I often tell Tonya that she has made me richer than a king because of them.  It is just that one that we love deeply isn't with us, and we desperately wish she was.

Christmas is, first and foremost, a time to remember Christ's incarnation and look forward to His second coming.  And we did both...with joy.  But is also such a sweet time of family fellowship - tender, giving, selfless, and innocent.  And to do it for the first time as an "incomplete" family was just plain hard.

We visited the cemetery where our baby girl is buried.  I kissed her cold, hard headstone and said "Merry Christmas" with tears in my eyes.  The kids wondered how or if Christmas is celebrated in heaven.  I suspect it isn't, but I also know that everyday there is more glorious than we can ever imagine. 

May Jesus return again soon.  Come, Lord Jesus.


  1. The first Christmas was the hardest for us Craig. You will always feel her void, especially on those speical family days, but the first Christmas felt raw. I remember being a little surprised by it as well.

  2. The holidays are so tough...
    The tug of war between the joys and sadness of this world are constant.
    I couldn't agree more - Come, Lord Jesus, come.