this christmas

We made it through the holidays.. It wasn’t pretty a lot of the time.. But really thats not my goal anymore. Its just to make it through.

To celebrate the joys.. and be ok with the sads. To say good riddance to the passing of a year without her and try to not dread the start of year another year without her..

Christmas was just a crap day. One where everything seemed to just go wrong. … From toys breaking.. to meals not cooking right.. Tony even had to go into work. The culmination of the day was the kicker..  I turned the corner from our kitchen to the hallway to be greeted by water.

Charlotte had stuffed too much toilet paper and for 20 mins it kept flushing.. But maybe that was a good thing.. Because we all banded together to clean it up.. and keep little hands from playing in it.

We tried. We never stopped trying and thats the overarching memory I hope the kids took away from the day. Mom and Dad never stopped trying to make it a good day.

The Christmas I was aiming for..
The Christmas we got

Still .. it was one of those days that felt like it was a week long. We were exhausted afterwards. Those days happen in parenthood.. but its hard when those days are the ones that are supposed to be magical.. to be easy. ..

Maybe thats part of the problem. The pressure Tony and I put on ourselves to make it a good day. Because the next day was so much better. The next day was what we hoped Christmas could have been.. I also hope they remember that.. The essence of those few days.

The OG Daddys girl

 

Truth is though its not just us. The kids are have their own struggles this time of year with their sister being gone..

Snuggling Jennifers pinkie bear.

Jonathan. He wants to get together and play with Jennifer’s friends.. with girls around his sisters age. But then he just aches for her afterwards. He wants to  make the other girls proud of him… and to get their approval. Then he just misses his sister so much afterwards. He is so aware though.. he knows it. He realzes whats happening.. he grasps his struggle and he chooses to walk through the sadness instead of running from it. Badass

He was so proud to be carrying sissys candle.

Nicholas. He is always thinking about it. And her. He will just come out randomly and say things he has either decided about heaven or the things he is questioning..My kids earn money to buy each other presents then get a special trip with just me to buy them. On that day he asked me if Santa went to heaven.

I told him, as I always do when it comes to heaven.. I said I wasn’t sure and asked what he thought.. He got very worried and said “Santa has to go to heaven or the kids in heaven won’t get gifts and toys. Mom. He has to go to heaven.” He has his own musings and his own answers.

have you ever seen a cuter picture!

Charlotte: She has started to worry about her sister. Worry if she is sad. Or cold. The simple things in life that impact her.. she worries they impact her big sister also. It seems to bother her that none of us know for sure.

And she notices now .. she pays attention to people that are part of Unravel and people that remember her sister.

My kids make gifts for all their cousins.. (Now 19 of them!!) and their aunts and uncles.. They tell me a few things they like or appreciate about each person. They are made only by one child to each person but they all like to chime in on suggestions. . .With some of her cousins as the kids were talking about what to say.. she matter of factly mentioned that “they miss Jennifer”. I knew that. But wasn’t sure how she did. “he wears sissy shirts a lot”

Bridgette: I wonder with her.. This sweet tough cookie of mine. The other day she was giggling like a maniac in my arms .. looking at nothing on the wall. She was clutching my Jennifer necklace in her hands.. And I whispered if she was laughing at sissy. She stopped. Looked at me and shook her head emphatically. .. And I wonder.. I just wonder..

Sometimes when I step back and look at it.. Just watch whats happening with all of my surviving kids.. the depths of their hearts.. the questions and the answers they come up with. Its pretty remarkable.

they are pretty remarkable.

but then again..

they have one helluva teacher.

..until there is a cure..

7 Responses to “this christmas”

  1. Your daughters are gorgeous girls. That photo of Charlotte with Santa! Just beautiful. And Bridgette’s smile — priceless. They are beauties. And I’m sure Bridgette’s manic laughter was directed at her Sissy at the wall. So spiritual. <3

  2. Libby,
    I wonder if you see the incredible progress you and your children are making? I can’t say much about Tony, I don’t know enough about how he is doing right now but my guess would be that he is also making progress.

    And I can imagine that this “compliment”, for lack of a better world, may feel strange because you probably are not sure if Jennifer’s death is something you want to progress from. But, it is. It is because it is about the survival and thriving of you and your family which is the most important thing right now. It’s okay to be doing better and getting better at managing the hard times. It’s actually what I think Jennifer would want you to be doing. She wouldn’t want you to be destroyed with heart break, she would want you to remember her and continue to move on with her siblings and be happy in the moment with them. I never doubt she is with all of you for one single moment.

    I was really worried about you initially in the first year of your grief. I am relieved to see that you seem to have found some coping mechanisms that are actually working for you and the kids. This is great “progress” (again, I can’t find a better word”.

    The ultimate task of bereavement is learning to move forward with our lives while carrying our loved ones with us, not getting stuck in the past but finding ways to remember and honour who we physically lost. I see you doing this and I hope that you are also noticing the changes and the growth.

    Charlotte…would some books about heaven help? There are so many books for children out there about death and you probably have them already. For children who have such concrete questions, sometimes a good book about Heaven is helpful. As a therapist I find that kids like Charlotte really need answers to things like “is Sissy cold?” My standard answer is “No, Sissy lives in heaven and no one is cold there. In heaven we have everything we need all the time.”

    I wish I was closer, I would love to donate some sand try play therapy sessions to your beautiful kids. I wonder if anyone does sand tray therapy in your area? My guess would be yes considering you are in CA!

    Happy belated holidays to all of you, and kudos on making it through another one without Jennifer Lynn Kranz physically present, although I know she was there in spirit. Where else would she be, right?

    Much respect and love to you all.
    Andrea

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