Monday, December 28, 2009

A Long December and there's Reason to Believe Maybe this Year will be Better than the Last....

We lived through December 26, 2009. How was it? Well, better than December 26, 2008, but still very, very difficult. How is it possible that Webb has been gone a year? One year ago today, we were attending the funeral of my almost 19 month old baby. Zac and I kissed his casket and then sat in a packed church while our friends and family sat shocked, sad, scared and unbelieving behind us. I remember it well - too well. I remember what I was thinking, what I was wearing, the outfit we picked out for Webb - all of it. After that, I remember little from the next several months. Thank God for that. This year, we did not know how to celebrate Christmas, but with a 4 and 2 and a half year old, we didn't have a choice. We knew staying here would make it almost impossible to give our children the "Merry" Christmas they deserve. Although they know Webb died, they have no idea it happened on December 26, or even what those dates mean. So instead, we packed up on December 22 and went to Disneyworld until last night. It was the best decision we have ever made. It is hard to be depressed when you are watching your children have that much fun. And we each took time out of our day on December 26 to honor Webb. Two of my best friends surprised us by making each Zac and me a spa appointment that day, which gave us each time to be alone, relax, reflect and think about Webb. Luckily, my "spa therapist" asked no questions when I cried throughout the pedicure. I wasn't really sobbing - just kind of leaking. Tears were coming fast and furious. It was a nice release. And to be honest, it was nice spending those days with just Zac, Bo and Whit. We escaped all family drama associated with Christmas, which was actually refreshing. And I knew in my heart no one except us would truly be able to honor December 26 and the emotions of that day. We would not have been able to pretend like it wasn't happening, yet we would not have wanted to cry all day in the presence of others. For us, Christmas means something different now, and being around people that don't understand that would have been tough. We did it our way, and because we know ourselves well, that is what worked. We returned home last night, exhausted and happy for the joy we gave Bo and Whit. They thought today was Christmas and had fun setting out cookies for Santa last night and playing with all their toys this morning. For all the dread and leading up to this time of year, I am proud of how it turned out. Nothing will erase the sadness associated with this time, but we have to make sure our children still have Christmas. What I am feeling truly blessed for is the prayers that carried us through a difficult month, week and day. I cannot think of one person in my life that is important to me who did not reach out with a phone call, text, email, Facebook message or card in the days leading up to December 26. That is incredible. You have no idea how much gestures like that mean to me. It reminded me of why I have been able to survive this horrific year - this support system around me is the most incredible gift I could have ever asked for. Thank you for your prayers, for loving me and my family and for helping me during this most difficult time.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Scattered thoughts from a broken heart....

We took our children to see Santa last Friday and Bo took one look at him and turned to us and said with sad eyes, "I wish Webbie was here to sit on Santa's lap like last year." Zac and I both started crying. "So do I," was all I could say. It seems so strange he is gone. Every day that inches closer to "the" day, it seems a little less real and a little more real, all at the same time. We are sad. We are aching. Bo is asking questions, more complicated questions every day. I feel like I am sort of hovering above and looking in on our lives. Living life completely right now is too impossible. Christmas isn't really Christmas. The missing him is too big. One year ago today, our world was perfect. We were innocent. Then, in the span of five words and 10 seconds, everything changed: "Webber has a brain tumor." I'll never forget the room we were in, the faces I saw, the nurse who kept looking at the floor so she didn't have to see the panic in our eyes, the tiny scream that came from my husband and the images that ran through my mind of my children laughing the night before. The horror comes flooding back. I'll never forget. The wall of grief, and pain and trauma is so big it will never come down completely. One year has come and gone, and the only thing that has changed is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the grief. The sheer panic of facing the day has subsided, but what we are left with is just as impossible. Not overwhelmed, just sad. Unbelieving. A little confused. A little lost. And a little found. I can't even comprehend the grace that has come from His presence alone. For that, I am blessed. Blessed to have known Webb for 19 months. Blessed to know he is with our great God. Blessed to have the promise of life eternal with him. All because of His amazing grace.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3: 21-22.

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. Psalm 29:11

We are hanging in there, leaning on each other and finding strength through our faith and our precious children. Life goes on and time goes by, one year will turn into many, and we will always know we were forever changed on December 26, 2008. Forever changed, but not defeated. We have lived, because He lives. We will approach 2010 with our heads held high, knowing we can endure anything, everything, because we have lived through the worst. We ask for continued prayers and support during this most difficult season, and the ones to follow. God bless you and your families and thank you for loving our family.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

And all the roads we have to walk are winding...

I don't have much to say as this Christmas season and anniversary of Webb's death approaches and our year of "firsts" winds down, except that we are in survival mode, and covet prayers, and are doing our best to put one foot in front of the other and make it through for the sake of our children. We managed to put up a tree, but looking at the ornaments made me sick, so we only got about half way through the box. That's enough for now. I did not send Christmas cards out this year. I couldn't imagine one that didn't include Webb - the "someone missing" would have been all I could see. Christmas music is not playing on our radio, and we will not be having a traditional celebration this year. It just seems like the best way, since we are not feeling festive. I am looking toward December 26 with dread. Somehow, I thought I'd feel different after a whole year, but I don't really know if I do. I am starting to relive memories of December 2008 I had pushed way down. I think I never wanted those memories to resurface, but they have and it has been painful. I guess the old adages "time helps" and "the first year is the worst" are probably true - but I cannot imagine I'll wake up January 1, 2010 and feel much different. It's still a long, winding road ahead. And while we've come far, we still have miles to go. This year, I am thinking about Christmas in the truest, most basic way possible. I am so thankful for that night in Bethlehem all those years ago, when God sent Jesus to save us. 2008 years later, almost to the day, He took Webb into His loving arms. Without Christ, I would not have the promise of eternity with my son, which would be the ultimate knife through my heart and soul. Instead, I have heaven with Webb to look forward to. And if that is all I ever associate Christmas with again, so be it. Trees, parties, dinner, presents, Santa and all the rest really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. And in a year where celebrating seems impossible, knowing the true reason for the season means Christmas will not be lost on us at all. But it is still hard facing these dates which are associated with the worst moments of our lives. I am not quite sure yet how I feel about that.