I made the decision to participate in this year’s holiday craft exchange thinking that I love to make things, and it’s sort of the only way I am getting through my days when I don’t have work to focus on. In fact, J and I even have a weekly craft night with a couple of sweet friends from our old moms’ group, ladies who determined shortly after BG died that the best thing they could do to help us with the grief is to distribute the weight. And that they have done nearly every week for the past many months, despite the fact that they have busy lives as wicked talented musicians, going to school and/or teaching students, and parenting two kids each all while being amazing friends. I mean amazing. I mean so amazing that when we went out of town for a few days at Christmas, they didn’t just feed our cat. They also took care of an ant invasion, brought us a new fish to replace the one who died (not on their watch, mind you), placed and filled stockings on our mantle for us, and then left us heaps of tasty treats and sweet notes because they knew first that we weren’t pregnant. Yes, very good friends have been born of this tragedy, and so have many lovely crafts. Our craft nights are sacred times for all of us, and we’ve been making some pretty beautiful things this year because keeping busy and creating something seems to be a worthy respite from the grief–or even a way through it when it’s too tough to bear.
So when it came to deciding whether or not to join in the annual blogger craft exchange, I was excited to share my little things I’ve been making, and I signed up without thinking that some poor blogger out there was going to get my name and have to think about what you do for a mom who no longer has a child, for someone who is so publicly, achingly grieving. It didn’t occur to me until a few weeks after I had signed up, and then there was no taking it back, which was hard to swallow because I really hate bringing people down and imposing my pain on them. Let’s face it: my name or picture alone can be the ultimate wet blanket these days. And it’s not that people make me feel bad about this; it’s just a surreal new role I seem to play. Anyway, that’s probably a digression for another post because this one is supposed to be about gratitude.
And let me tell you that I am so grateful for my blog friends, both those I know and those I don’t. You see, it seems that maybe I didn’t need to worry because the people who are in this community tend to be pretty remarkable souls. When a box arrived on my doorstep just before the Winter Solstice, I was admittedly a little nervous. And then I opened it to find a letter, the most beautifully composed, thoughtful, compassionate letter. I wept. I read it to my wife, and we both wept together because it was beautiful in the way it acknowledged our loss, in how challenging it would be to make an appropriate craft, and then there was the perfection of a simple ornament with the most poignant of wishes upon it:
We didn’t have a tree this year–too sad–but we did have a pretty centerpiece for Solstice, so we placed it there as a wish for the coming year, that with the light comes peace. It also hung out in BG’s little holiday altar space for a little while:
I don’t know that I will ever be able to express fully what this community means to me. You all seem to get this pain J and I share in a way that not everyone can. Maybe it’s because you have read us for so long, or maybe it’s because you really, really grasp how much we wanted our son, and maybe it’s just because this is a community made of beautiful people. And, Jackie from That’s a Lot of Esses is certainly no exception. Thank you, Jackie, for sending what was absolutely perfect and for offering such warm words to two heartbroken moms. This ornament be a special addition to our holiday decorations for years to come and your letter and your wish for us treasured.