I'm not sure what it was about today, but there were "reminders" of Asher everywhere today. But they didn't make me sad. I am confused by this. I don't feel ready to not cry at every thought of my son. Grief connects me to him. So much of my memory of his short life is wrapped up in grief that if I unwrap it, I'm afraid I might loose what little I have left of Asher. I don't want to grieve less. I want to go on holding the sadness close like a favored childhood blanket. But slowly it is happening. Over Thanksgiving I sobbed through the days. Crying into the pumpkin pie.... wiping the tears away while I made the dinner rolls........ eating only because I didn't want to ruin the meal for others. But Christmas was different. It was hard to go shopping at first. Buying things for Vera and knowing I will never buy Christmas gifts for Asher. But then I started to enjoy myself. I smiled at the moms with babies that passed. And took joy in selecting just exactly the toys that I knew Vera would love the best. Joyously choosing items and knowing that only myself, her mother, would think to get this or that. And maybe I was a bit smug about it too.
During the days immediately leading up to Christmas my nerves were more raw than usual though. I know this because I managed to start several explosive fights with Nolan over dumb things. I was feeling more anxious than normal and felt attacked at every corner. Its a good thing Nolan has the patience of a rock.
Christmas Eve was good. I stopped to have a moment to myself to cry just before we began the evening festivities. That turned out to be a good move, mourning before the party, and not in the middle of it. I was pretty sleepy all evening, but I think God allowed that so I couldn't get too worked up. And looking back, I can tell that many people were praying for me because I was just very laid back. I also took every opportunity to smooch my husband or be close to him because his presents keeps me knowing that we are going to be ok. And (incase you wanted to know) kissing helps your body release oxytocin (the love hormone), which makes you feel happierish.
I slept in on Christmas and when I woke up we began opening gifts. I don't remember thinking about Asher while we opened everything. I only remember enjoying Vera's and Nolan's reactions to the gifts. And I remember how thankful I felt as Nolan read the Christmas Story to Vera and I from the Bible. It helped to much to focus on what God gave us instead of the son he took away. In the evening we went over to my folks house and I even sat and laughed while playing Apples to Apples (a card game) with my mom and siblings. Only a month apart, Thanksgiving and Christmas... but oh the difference a day makes.
I frequently still shake my head in disbelief. Not understanding fully that I have two children and one of them is in heaven. Not understanding why. I don't know why God wanted Asher back up in heaven with him. And I'll probably never get an answer other than that God only does those things, that when completed, will bring Him glory. And so, I hope that through all of this I will act in a way that will ring out God's glory. That in the end people will not say "Why? How could a good God do this?", but "Wow. God is good even when he allows bad things to happen."
Christ is more real to me than ever. In the moments when I feel my head slipping under the water he sends someone to pull me back up again. In the times when I'm on the verge of letting go God reaches down and ties a rope around my waist. And when I'm sad the Holy Spirit renews my spirit with joy and gladness. When I'm angry God wraps his arms around me while i pound my fists and cry out that 'its not fair!' And when I'm happy Christ rejoices with me and reminds me that there is much to laugh about.
Even though I still shake my head I know I am healing. I'm not comfortable with less grief yet. I want to hold onto it. But slowly, joy about Asher is replacing the sorrow. Tears of gladness that he will never know the evil of this world sometimes find their way to the top and spill over. And I guess this is all ok.