I wasn't able to put up my snowflakes, though. I have 3 boxes of glittery snowflake decorations, and this year we bought a box of much bigger ones. I generally use them to make a design on our front picture window, throw a few on the other windows and hang remainder on the tree.
I just didn't feel like it this year. I didn't feel like going through the effort to plan a design, to arrange them on the windows at all - to be happy about putting them up.
On Analin's 2nd Monthday I decided it was time. It was a sad day anyway, and I had reached a point I wanted them up more than in their boxes. I free-handed a tree on the window, gave Analin her own snowflake and even hung up a pair between her and Chiaotzu, our 9 year old boxer dog who passed away in the late summer because of a bee sting.
Kris says we still have Analin, just not in the way we wanted. I understand the thought, but have trouble agreeing with it. But I still have this driving need to include her - to give her a snowflake, to hang her stocking, to get her a personalized ornament along with the ones we buy for the boys every year. So yes, she is here with us, just not in the way we wanted. I hate the very thought, because let's be honest - this is not the way it was supposed to be.
The first year is the hardest, they say, because of all the firsts. I'm beginning to wonder if I might be able to hold my breath for the whole time, to let the pain build up until I can let it all go in one big relieving exhale. Of course, I'm pretty sure I don't have the Navy Seal training for that.
The holiday season is the worst, I think, for a lot of us who have lost loved ones. I hear so many stories now, and whether it's because no one talked about them before they knew I would understand, or now I understand and make the effort to pay attention. Or maybe I was always paying attention, but just didn't have the experience to be able to empathize.
Regardless, the stories are there, and with them some hope. Because I see there is still joy to be found in the holidays. I feel it myself while I'm planning what to do with the boys. I just wish grieving didn't have to be so hard because I'm beyond tired of it already.