For weeks now I have felt the holidays creeping up on us. We got a letter from our church asking what our needs are and if we are still in need of help for the holidays. The past few years, if it was not for them, I don't really know what we would have done on so many levels. It is always hard emotionally because I cannot shop for my own children. We appreciate everything that people give to us but somehow it kind of takes from the holiday experience for Hugh and I when we cannot shop for our own children.
Each year I take the letter the church sends us and thoughtfully consider what I am going to write on that page. This seems so easy but it isn't. I have to think about what they will need for the rest of the year and narrow it down to one gift the kids want. They have a place listed for "needs" and one for "want" Needs are always easy because there are always things like socks, underwear, shoes, and other staples that they always need since they are always growing like weeds. In the want section, I am always careful to put something that is monetarily feasible for someone to actually get. This year the kids want a DSI but that is quite expensive and I have to find the money for two, not just one. Hugh and I could use a real gold necklace for our charms that hold George's ashes since this year both of our's bit the dust and now neither of us can wear it like we had planned. These are not things that I have ever put on this list even if they really wanted something. My heart goes out to all the parents that have been in our situation and especially those who have NO help at all and their children get nothing.
All of that being said, the very thought of all that added to the loss of George just makes the holidays now dreaded events for us. For the past few years I just have not had the holiday spirit no matter how hard I tried to just be thankful for our blessings and not the things we don't have. Last year was the single wost holiday season of my life, and that is no exaggeration! I really have been feeling as if this year was going to be much of the same, but today for the first time I had a glimmer of hope for it to be something I may be able to enjoy rather than dread. It sounds like such a simple task but it really isn't. I've gotten so good at putting that fake smile on that often times I forget how not to do that!
Today my mom and I went to Walmart with Gabby. I had to grab melatonin and allergy meds for the boys and my mom had a few things she needed. While there, since we didn't have the boys with us, we went down the toy isles. Little did I realize, this was Gabrielle's first trip down the toy isle. Usually I avoid the toy isle like the plague because we don't usually have money to get them anything. Gabby was just amazed with all the toys! Her little eyes just stared at everything and the look on her face was just priceless. If she saw something that she liked, she would say oooh. I've never heard her do it and the face that went with it was just so adorable. I let her play with a few toys while we were looking around to see what she may like and she was just so overwhelmed and in awe that I didn't even want to leave the isle. The trip down the Christmas isle brought about the same reaction and I took a little video of her and sent it to Hugh.
I stood there looking at her and seeing how excited she was with the simplest things. Joshua and Michael are in LOVE with the holidays and decorating, and I am sure that Gabby will now follow in their footsteps. As I saw her enjoying this simple trip to the store, I was forced to think about the upcoming season and how much it will mean to her. She just deserves the world and to be a kid and as her mom I have to give that to her and get past my own feelings. For the first time in a very long time, I found an excitement inside that I have not had in, I don't even know how long. Her little face just reminded me how to look deeper and enjoy life through the pain of life. Maybe this whole season will be better than I thought it really would be. I need to find that joy and excitement and really look inside to work on myself so that I can be there for the kids and enjoy their lives while they are young. It isn't that I haven't appreciated any of it but somehow I have found a deeper understanding of all of this.
Finding this inner peace with George's death doesn't mean that I don't miss him. I will still cry for myself because I miss him but the internal turmoil has subsided. All of the what if's and could have beens are still there but I can now accept it for what it is...God's will. God wants me to also find joy and happiness and I feel these moments are gifts from him reminding me of what he really wants for me. He wants me to rely on him and to still find happiness/good among the pain/bad. So often I tell my children this and forget that I too need to remember these things. No matter what we can or cannot provide for the kids, it has nothing to do with the feelings inside. The boys will never remember the toys specifically but they will remember the feelings invoked by the holiday season. When they look back on their lives, I want them to remember the happiness and not the sadness that we carried in our hearts. If I spend the impending holidays the way I did last year, they won't have that and I will be denying them the things they deserve. Please keep me in your prayers as we move through this tough time of year and allow us to find the holiday spirit no matter our circumstances.
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!