I’ve been putting this off for over a week. Going into Christmas I didn’t really realize how hard things were becoming. A few days before, I realized that I was putting holiday things off, and I couldn’t do that. I had to push through it anyways and not withdraw.
A big task was taking Gabe to see Santa. I didn’t think this was going to be hard, but I was disappointed that I had drug my feet so long into the month that Antonio wasn’t available to come with me that morning. He was at work. We go to see Santa at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, MI. Its a giant Christmas store – the world’s largest! We’ve gotten all our family ornaments here, and Milo’s first Christmas ornament last year.
Gabe and I patiently waited our turn in line, and they really have a good system there, so it goes pretty fast. Right before it was our turn it hits me. I should have two boys. Last year I had two boys. This isn’t right and I fight the urge to panic and leave. Gabe delivers his requests for a ‘sword grabber’, ‘mack the cream’, and socks safely to Santa. I quickly whisked him out and back to the car so I could escape confronting the feeling of having forgotten something behind.
I thought that was the worst of it. It wasn’t. I had been putting off decorating the tree this year. I just didn’t want to fuss with it. Christmas Eve came and Antonio finally took the reigns and decorated it. We have received several ornaments specially for Milo this year. We rounded them all up and put them on the tree. While beautiful, they suddenly struck me as never being enough. I would rather have him.
I felt bad that I had no idea what I would have gotten him for Christmas this year. His birthday gift is still in our garage unopened. Then then flood of wondering what he would be like now, three months later, if he was here. Would he be walking? Saying a few words? Would he like cookies or candy canes? What would he think of the snow this year now that he would be bigger to enjoy it? Just so many unanswered questions and the overwhelming sense of something is missing. It shouldn’t be like this.
The week before, while wrapping presents, we came across Milo’s Santa sack and stocking. I hung the stocking, but Santa wouldn’t be delivering a sack for a little boy that’s no longer here. It was hard to fold it up and put it away. It’s things like this that make me realize just how permanent this is. It’s these continual and hard reminders of how normal everything was and how we never ever imagined being where we are now.
Christmas Eve was the hardest. But, we got through it. We got it all out that day, so going into Christmas Day was better. I feared not being able to enjoy any of it for Gabe, but it was fine. We had good food and spent most of the day with family. The New Year was cheerful and bright too.
Now we get to go forward into January with Gabe’s 4th birthday, and then my birthday, and on with the rest of the years. We still haven’t heard anything from the medical examiners office. I fully expect in a couple weeks to have CPS visit us again and continue to check on us as the case continues to stay open waiting for the autopsy results. I am slowly trying to accept that they may never have answers for us. Some days I’m so sure it had to be something obviously wrong inside him, that we just couldn’t have known with his lack of outward symptoms. He was here, and then gone. Instantly. It still makes no sense to me, and probably never will.
All I have left are his memories: pictures and videos. This was one year ago. Happy and babbling little baby. My perfect boy. His dimples. His big eyes. He looks so much like his daddy, but had my toes. He had a single freckle on the back of his left thigh. He was long and lean, but chubby in the cheeks. We think his hair would grow to be wavy or curly. It was just starting to grow more. His whole life was just starting.