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This week marked six months. Add the holiday season to that and I’m spent. I can hardly believe it has been half of a year since I saw my boy. I have taken advantage of all the grief support groups, workshops, celebrations and events that I possibly can. (P.S. Please light a candle for Noah tomorrow, Sun. 12/9 at 7:00pm wherever you are!) I have a file folder bursting with articles, brochures, worksheets, lists, prayers, poems and charts on grief and getting through the holidays. I have great friends, family and supporters who keep me busy and check in on me. I have books, music, companions. I have tools, distractions, hobbies and the goal to ease back into working from the office more. I have lists of things I want to do, things I need to do and things that are still taking shape in my head.

And sometimes I’m just not feeling it. Like Christmas. I see the decorations, commercials and TV specials. But all of it falls flat. I try to stay numb to it all: let it just roll past me. But it’s more than that. It’s painful and debilitating. This time of year is more than just the celebration of a religious holiday. It’s a time to look back on the year and reflect. To ponder all the changes and growing we’ve undergone since last year at this time.

I’m trying hard not to do that this year. Grief comes in waves and I feel my defensive instincts trying to hold it all back – push it away. Distract. I have lovely medications for when the tsunami starts brewing…because when the glimpses of pain seep into daily life, it takes my breath away.

And I know I can’t hide from what haunts me. I can’t hide from this new silence that is a life without his voice, his giggle, his presence. The past 6 months mean establishment of a permanence that is this strange life; without Noah. New silence. New routines. New sadness settling into my soul and unpacking its agony. But I digress…

As much as I try not to look back, the concepts of a year ago are still fresh: knowing that my time with Mom was running out. The pain of watching her lose such a long and arduous battle with cancer. I remember being mostly sad a year ago as Mom seemed to drift further from lucidity. I was devastated to lose her, honored to play a role in caring for her in her last few weeks…and any type of celebration or happiness felt forced. I spent as much time with her as possible, often at the expense of time with my kids. How could I have known…?

I knew then that 2012’s Christmas would look very different without her and that Jason and I would have separate homes and lives by this year. I was excited to start my new life. Little did I know the absolute destruction that 2012 would bring: financial complications, divorce, heartbreak and even the death of my own son. I know some good things have happened even in the face of all of this tragedy. It just seems to pale in comparison to all of the hurt.

So…for good or ill, that’s how the holidays are impacting me. I have not shopped (please don’t get me a gift: I will just feel guilty because I couldn’t brave the crowds to get you one too). No holiday movies or Christmas carols. No tree for me this year – Zoe and I made snowflakes instead. The pure, innocent joy of childhood is gone from my life and though I’m trying to believe that I can create joy again, it eludes me right now. I’m exhausted.

Sorry to have yet another depressing post. Here is my boy’s smiling face from last year to help cheer it up a bit.

Noah's Ready for Christmas, December 2011