The holidays have been tough. First, Halloween. We were handing out candy to the neighborhood kids, and something funny happened that made us sad later. The doorbell rang, we opened the door, said hello to two-year-old Batman and his mama with huge smiles, and he walked under the bowl of candy I was holding, right into our house. We were all laughing and the little boy seemed to want to make himself at home in our living room. His mama had to chase him inside of our house, apologizing, which we dismissed, and they left shortly afterwords, for him to run into yet another living room. He was adorable. Of course it made us sad that we didn't have a little boy to dress this year, a little boy to chase after (would Beau be crawling or maybe even walking?) and a little boy to laugh at.
Then Thanksgiving. The invitation was open to us to go up to Steamboat to house- and cat-sit, for the weekend. We decided that would be a good option, sitting in somebody else's house instead of ours for a change. We drove up, enjoyed the familiar but still breathtaking Steamboat scenery, ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant, where we were literally the only patrons until we were halfway through our dessert. We each said what we were thankful for. Thanksgiving was quiet for a change. Then we went back to the house to relax and digest. I read Elizabeth Edward's "Resilience" book, which I credit for helping me through the day. Thanksgiving was first real holiday since Beau's death, and I cried off and on all day. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Holidays are happy, and are supposed to be enjoyed with family, not sad and weepy and filled with a being-cheated-feeling all day. But I think we did okay. The day after, we went snowshoeing, which was beautiful and peaceful and quiet. We made it through, even enjoyed ourselves, with just yet another holiday on the horizon.
We knew we wanted to do something different this year for Christmas. We love our families dearly and want to be with them, but maybe it's not the time of year where we want to be surrounded by children and babies and happy gift-opening. It's just too raw still. So we decided to do something different.....and booked tickets to Las Vegas. Why not, we figure. We should go gamble a little, see a show, relax in a hotel room, and just enjoy the lights and the numb chaos that is Vegas. So be it. My mom will be joining us for most of the time we'll be there, and she has never seen a Cirque du Soleil show! So that will be fun.
So this year, we are skipping the tree, the decorations, and I even considered skipping the sending of the holiday cards. But I want people to know that we love them, that we are not hermits, that we are looking with hope to the future while keeping the love of our son in our hearts. I cringe every time I go into a store and hear the holiday music - not just because I find it slightly depressing this year (quite the opposite than the old me, who would start playing the Christmas music just after Halloween, which Sam loved....ha!) but because I don't want to hear "Silent Night". That song, I sang and hummed to Beau while I was pregnant with him. We found out he was a boy on December 5 last year, and since that day I felt more bonded to him, more sure of him as a person. I was trying to think of some lullabies to sing to him when he was born (I imagined he would have colic as I did as a baby) and I remember reading that babies have some memory of music played while in the womb; something about the memory of hearing/remembering music is soothing. I couldn't think of any lullabies, so "Silent Night" it was, that I sang. I imagined explaining later on that since I didn't know any lullabies, that's what I would have to sing to him to calm him down. Well, we didn't make it that far, and now "Silent Night" is so depressing I never want to hear it again because to me, that's me and Beau's song.
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
I know I'm interpreting this song differently now, but it still makes me sad, and it's still painful to hear that song. I don't WANT my baby to sleep in heavenly peace, I want Beau to be here for Christmas to put wrapping paper bows on his head and maybe a little baby Santa hat. Or elf shoes with bells on them.
We've almost made it through the toughest year of our lives, and I just want it to be over with. It's been hard enough, so we are taking this holiday in stride and do things a little different this year. Because, why not. We have even reasoned, since our cat is our only "responsibility", that Zora won't mind if we take a vacation.
We also have a lot to be grateful for in this past year, and in general, and we are done taking things for granted. Each day is a blessing, each moment with each other, in good health, families in good health, and we know little Beau is doing what he can to help us through this tough time of year for us. I had a dream the other night that I was looking up at the stars, and felt an immense sense of peace and calm, and suddenly felt one sweet moment of Beau's presence. Keep them coming, baby. We miss you.