Monday, December 24, 2012

First Christmas Without James Collins, Jr.

I don't know how in this world I got through my first Christmas after James Collins, Jr. died.  He died May 2, but that first Christmas without him was pure misery.

It hurt!  It hurt so much!  No toys under the tree.  No little Santa or snowman shaped cookies for him to take a nibble....if he had teeth by then.  No "My First Christmas" baby outfit for him to wear.  We did the only thing we could do as "playing Santa" for our son.  We had a beautiful Santa made out of flowers for his grave.  We were proud of his Santa that decorated his grave, but our hearts were hurting so bad as we set it up on our dead son's grave.  No one should have to play Santa at their child's grave instead of the Christmas tree.  There are no words that could even begin to describe that experience. 

Christmas with my family was okay.  Since I come from a large family, we get together the weekend before the actual Christmas Day.  My sister-in-law was pregnant with her 3rd child due that March.  I was unhappy I wasn't pregnant again by now.  We were trying very hard, but nothing was happening.
I had been told I was infertile before I had James Collins, Jr. so I was hoping for another miracle.  My family was very gentle and kind to me that Christmas.  My baby was never mentioned.  No one asked how I was doing.  I guess they didn't want to upset me or that they didn't realize the need.  It was so much on my mind, but maybe not theirs.  Grief is just something people don't talk about during Christmas.  That is why having a stillborn baby is so lonely.  The parents suffer their loss alone.  Just a silent hug by someone would help.

The Fitts family had BIG holiday affairs for two days.  We all had to dress in our finest for Christmas Eve dinner at my MIL's.  That's when got into the eggnog, trying to take the edge off.  His family never ever mentioned my baby. Like my family, why should they?  It would just dampen the holiday mood for all.  Ours was already dampened.   James' sister was due to have her baby any second.  I was at my in-laws on Christmas Eve when the call came.  His sister was in labor.  The family was so happy and I was sitting there like a bump on a log.      Her baby was born on Christmas Eve, a boy and very healthy.  I wanted to leave as soon as dinner was over and we did.  I was so upset all of the night.  Why?  Why God did her baby turn out okay and mine had to die?  I took perfect care of myself so my baby would be healthy!    It just didn't make sense to me why my baby had to be the one to die.  Of course I really didn't want anything bad to happen to her baby.  I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone.  I just didn't want to hear about their good news.  Just not in the mood.

The next morning we HAD to go over to his parents house again to open gifts and have breakfast together.  I didn't want to go, but I did.  Thankfully, as soon as we opened gifts, James parents had us all leave so they could go to the mountains of NC (6 hour drive) to see their new grandson. We also had to go to James' brother's house for a dressy Christmas night dinner.  More eggnog!  I was glad to leave.  I don't remember much more of that Christmas, 37 years ago except that I cried.  I cried a lot for my baby.  My heart was broken and my arms were aching.

Computers had not been invented then.  No cell phones, FB, Twitter, nothing.  To call someone who lived out of the same town you lived in cost money.  All of my sisters and my brother lived out of town.  My parents lived out of town.  I was in the deepest depts of sorrow in my grieving.  James did his best to consol me, but nothing worked.  I just prayed I would get pregnant soon.


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