Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas without him...again

Another holiday season has come and we yet again celebrate without our firstborn son here.

We've tried to include Marcellus in what we do. We've tried to start traditions for him for celebrating Christmas. I feel like we have failed horribly.

This is our first real Christmas in North Carolina, where live. Our first real Christmas to celebrate our way (not that celebrating with our families in MN is bad, just our first time to really start our very own traditions).

It's not our first Christmas in NC though. It's actually our third. The first Christmas we spent here was the one right after Marcellus died. We had been in MN for his funeral (he's buried in MN) and stayed for a few weeks after. We got back early December. It was too soon to travel back to MN and on top of that we pretty much cancelled Christmas that year anyway. But shortly before Christmas the mom of a childhood friend of Mike's sent us flowers. A dozen beautiful white roses. On Christmas day we went around to a few cemeteries we had visited and left flowers at the baby sections (in the early days we visited the baby section of other cemeteries since we had nowhere to visit for Marcellus). We thought we had a new tradition for Marcellus, to get white roses for Christmas in honor of him.

The second Christmas we spent in NC was the following year...with Ethan in the NICU born just a week before Christmas. I was, of course, a complete emotional wreck about everything. And that included not being able to have our traditions for Marcellus. A friend got us artificial white roses and we hung one up on Ethan's white board next to his isollete in the NICU. That year we were also going to start another tradition. We were going to releases a lantern on Christmas Eve for Marcellus. Well just a couple of days before Christmas Eve our house was broken in to. With our first son dead, our second son in the NICU and our house just broken into we didn't feel like luck was on our side. So when I read the directions and warnings on the lantern I just felt like we would end up setting our neighborhood on fire. We didn't have a great open area to release it anyway. We still have never released one. They are currently stored in Marcellus's drawer with some of his other special things.

From when Ethan was in the NICU - Christmas 2012

The next two years we were in MN. I know one of those years we even forgot to bring Marcellus's special candle to light. Did we even get roses? I can't remember now. I don't think we even did in MN. I think we did have them at home though.

This year we had the chance to do it right. To create all the memories and traditions with Ethan and Weston while also honoring their big brother, Marcellus. But we messed it up. I had brought up that we needed to get roses for Marcellus, but then the next time Mike and Ethan went to the store we had all temporarily forgotten about it. I thought of it again last night, we still had a chance to get them today on Christmas Eve.

We also wanted to start a Christmas Even tradition with Ethan and Weston. I really wanted to drive around and look at lights. Mike had to work today and we had hoped to go immediately after. Last night we talked a lot about how we were going to try to get roses for Marcellus. I could have gone with Ethan and Weston, but that did not sound appealing at all. I figured the stores would be crazy busy to have them both out. Of course if I knew that was our only chance to get them I would have dealt with it and gone. Mike said he could stop after work or that we could stop when we were out looking at Christmas lights. Well, he ended up not getting off work right away. I made the decision that we shouldn't look at Christmas lights tonight as Ethan was getting tired. I didn't want to push him past his limit when we have tons of excitement for tomorrow. Mike said he'd stop on his way home from work to get roses. Turns out all the grocery stores were already closed though. After he got home we thought of trying Target. They're still open (until 11 if you by chance need anything), but they do not currently have any fresh flowers (I called to check).

And now I'm sitting here a mess. My heart is truly heavy and I am not in the Christmas spirit at all. I feel like we messed up Christmas Eve for Ethan and we now don't have anything special to honor Marcellus for Christmas day. Yeah, we do have his candle we will light, but that's what we do for everything. I want something special for Christmas. Four years and five Christmases without him and we haven't figured it out.

We do include him throughout the season. We take a tag off the Angel Tree for a boy that would be about Marcellus's age, we hang up a stocking for him, we include all his ornaments on the tree and we get him a new ornament each year. We get a family ornament too and make sure that it incorporates him. But we don't have anything for Christmas Eve/Day itself and that hurts my heart. It makes me feel awful, like I've let him down.

To end I want to share a story from today. This afternoon I was nursing Ethan down for a nap. He was playing with my Marcellus hand print necklace. It really drives me crazy when he does that so I asked him to stop. He said to me, "I'm just thinking about Marcellus." I had to ask him again and again what he said to make sure. My heart melted and ached all at the same time. Of course I let him go back to holding on to Marcellus's necklace. And he did, he held on to it until he fell asleep.

Marcellus, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I have failed you this Christmas. It makes my heart hurt. But really my heart would hurt regardless. It hurts because you are not here. Because we are having our fifth Christmas without you. Because I live everyday wondering what you'd be like. I hope your brothers know you are included in all of our Christmas celebrations. Even though you are not physically here, you are always a part of our family activities. I miss you so much my sweet boy, so so so very much. The only thing I ever want for Christmas is impossible, it's for you to be here with us. Merry Christmas my little mister....Merry Christmas. I love you! xoxox.