January 7 by 7

January 6, 2009

Here are my responses to the 7 by 7 discussion over at glow in the woods.   And I’ll just add a small and tired “hurray” that I’ve made it through my first holiday season without my boy.

1 Welcome to 2009. What have you left behind in the year just past? What do you hope to find in the year to come?
I left behind the bliss of ignorance, a good deal of hope and worry and work, and the few precious hours when I held my baby in my arms. I’m hoping to find some peace and meaning and to figure out who I am now, because it’s often strange, not knowing…

2 We’ve just come through the season in which our culture touts cheer and peace and family togetherness rather relentlessly. How did your child’s death impact your experience of the “holiday” season, personally or culturally?
My brother was married a couple weeks before Christmas. That family gathering was mostly good, and at times terribly hard. Even though they all mean well, some of my family really, really gets it, and some are clueless and hurtful. I’m closer to some of them now, and have no desire for closeness with others, just because of what happened during that one gathering.

The idea of Christmas was a hard one to wrap my mind around this year. I went through many of the motions, but much of the holiday felt hollow. What held meaning for me wasn’t the idea or experience or knowledge of Christmas, but the ideas of Advent, of being in a time of waiting (sometimes desperately) for the light.

3 If you celebrate in any way through December, are there ways you include or acknowledge your lost baby/babies?
I have a candle for Teddy that I light on Friday evenings, and I lit it on the day we put up our Christmas tree, to include him, and on Christmas Eve.

4 Through the year are there any holidays, seasons, or parts of what were once cherished rituals that have changed for you because of your child’s death?
Going to parties was terrifying, because once outside the safety of home, you just don’t know what people will say to you, and some people said things that made me gasp for breath a little.

Putting up lights this year was partly an act of defiance, my way of not giving in completely to the sadness of the last few months, my way of pushing back the dark. In the end, most of my holiday activities last month had less to do with Christmas than with trying to brighten the darkness however I could.

5 Do you do anything to remember your baby/babies’ birth and/or death day? Or will you?
I don’t know. I fear the first –versaries, but I’d like to do something to remember his birthday besides panic and wail.

6 Is there anything about the winter season (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere right now) that lifts your spirits? Is there anything that especially brings them down?
I love the beauty, the insulation, the blankness, the quietness of snow. I think, because I grew up in such a dry part of Montana, that I’m conditioned to appreciate precipitation in any form, but throughout December and now, going into January, the snow feels protective. It also reminds me to take things slowly, that it’s okay to rest and do the work of grieving.  I need those reminders these days.

7 During your hardest times, how have you found your way forward?
I cling to my husband like a limpet. I write. And I allow myself to let go of the idea of having to move forward, of the idea that grief is a linear thing; this helps me to feel better and less judgmental about how and what I feel, about what I do and need to do in the moment.  I don’t know if I’m moving forward, but I’m still here.



  1. Beautiful answers. I’ll have to do this post soon, too.

    I hope 2009 is good to you, Erica.

  2. Still here indeed… one foot in front of the other. Sending love.

  3. Like a limpet? You’ve just given me my new favourite word. 🙂 I love too that you’re aware of not judging yourself for how you feel. My god, that’s a profound and difficult lesson to teach oneself.

    And I’ll echo the hurray. I’m glad you made it through.

  4. Another one echoing your “hurray” you made it through. One small step at a time.

    kimberlee (link from glow in the woods)

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