All I want for Christmas is you my sweet Poppy. It’s coming up to our third Christmas without you and it still just as painful. Christmas can be tough when you’ve lost a baby or child. Add into that the whole Parenting After Loss and it’s a whole new bittersweet winter emotionalland.
When Poppy died at the end of October in 2016, Christmas was the furthest thing from our minds. As the weeks went by and we slowly started to try and engage with the world again, Christmas was in full swing all over the place. It was a sea of snowflakes and twinkling lights. I just wanted to escape it all. Run to a beach somewhere and just not be here.
We came home from the hardest thing a parent has to endure. I think we just wanted to make plans not to make plans that first Christmas. If that makes any sense. Our life wasn’t a holiday this holiday season. We were in an emotionally complicated situation. Filled with raw grief and everlasting heartbreak.
How could we celebrate Christmas? We couldn’t, how can we? This should have be our first Christmas with Poppy and instead we were preparing for her funeral. Fairy lights and presents under the tree seemed so pointless and worthless. All I wanted under the tree was my little girl.
We buried Poppy at the start of December and I need a new red tie for her funeral. So we were brave and ventured to our local shopping centre. It was tough. A sea of people out Christmas shopping. High tide of shoppers. All out in force, and most noticeable; new born babies. It just seemed to be wherever we turned. I tried to be strong for Emily but when I ran back to the car alone it hit me. A wave of emotion, questions of why can’t we be here with Poppy. Why had this happened to us.
In the following weeks we decided to “do” Christmas as best we could. It was better to have family around then to be alone. It was going to be hard but it is always going to be hard. Christmas Day was actually better than we thought it would be, it was the build up that was the hardest part for me.
In the build up to Christmas Day we tried to avoid going out to shops until later at night. To avoid the sea of people unaware of the heartbreak we’d suffered. Even so walking round card shops was tough. Having to walk past Daddy Christmas cards just broke my heart. I’d never get one from Poppy, I’d never see her handwriting in a card. A reminder of what I’d just lost.
Waking into shops and seeing all the toys I’d never get her. Would you like a Barbie or a pram. So many what ifs and what should have beens. It was all laid bare wrapped in a red bow and shoved under my nose.
You get the constant heart warming adverts on TV that in the weeks after losing your little girl just smash up your heart into even tinier pieces. You question why these adverts are even allowed on TV. In the heightened state of grief you’re left questioning everything and angry at the world.
As I said earlier the day itself was better than we first thought it would be. We went to visit Poppy, read her a story and wished her a Merry Christmas wherever she was. Then we kept busy cooking the dinner for our incredible family. Keeping our minds focused on something else helped us massively.
Last year we were so lucky to have our rainbow Reuben here with us. The build up to Christmas was mainly us with a new born baby. Learning to parent after loss. Roo being here took our minds off thinks a little bit at the same time was a reminder of how things should have been last year and that we should have a 1 year old running round the tree.
This year I do feel more in the festive spirit. I think with Reuben being 1 and wanting to start traditions with him helps that. At the same time I have been feeling low about Poppy not being here in the last few days. Christmas does make feelings come to the surface more. We naturally reflect and look back at Christmas.
Traditions are so important and as we embark on ours we are trying to include Poppy in them. She is part of our family and it’s so important that we honour and remember her over the festive period and all throughout the years as they come.
Decorations on the tree with her name on make me smile so much. Seeing matching ones for our two babies make me smile and shed a tear at the same time.
Donating things in Poppy’s memory give me a warm Christmassy feeling. Doing something in her name to help others makes me know she’s still making an impact on the world and having an impact on Christmas.
Despite doing all of this though it still hurts like hell these Poppy isn’t here. With each Christmas it never gets easier. I think it will be at times emotionally draining but those are sadly the waves we go on with baby loss and parenting after loss.
The lights and buzz of Christmas are now a little easier to bare now with Reuben here. The streets look the same but still slightly different. You can still get lost in the world of grief. If never goes away but with each passing Christmas will I be able to handle things better? Who knows. I doubt I ever will. There will always be one more present I want under the tree. Poppy