It has been a long time since I have written to you. But I promise that I have not lost that belief in the sparkle and wonder and magic of Christmas. This year my wish list is short. All I want is one more second with my daughter. One more twinkle in her eye, one more smile, one more moment.
You see Santa December 25, 2011 was the last day that my daughter had a bright and happy future. Although she was sick, with what we thought was constipation, or tummy troubles it turned out that she was so much sicker than we could have imagined.
That Christmas was both wonderful and difficult. We woke up early and went to my parent’s house for breakfast, and present exchanging. Then off to my Aunt’s home for the big family party. We passed Zoë around the room, and my Grandmother, and Aunts, and Cousins all took turns holding and cooing at her. I will never forget the joy on my Grandmother’s face, or my Uncle rocking Zoë to sleep during the entire dinner. His face full of peace and happiness as his plate of food grew cold.
I bought a Christmas ornament to take a handprint of Zoë, but there never seemed to be a good time to do it. Plus she was just so grumpy, and I did not want to irritate her anymore than she already was. So instead it now sits in its box…untouched.
When driving home we broke down and bought Zoë infant Tylenol, or something like it. She had been screaming, and crying the entire one hour plus ride home.
That night as I feed her and rocked her she threw up, not a little spit up, or baby burp, but a cascade of stomach contents that covered me, and the floor, and her. I had never seen anything like it before. I just knew that something was wrong.
So the day after Christmas my mother, and Zoë and I set off for the hospital. If only I could have known sooner…if only there was a Christmas wish, or miracle I could have asked for the day before…
Since April 1, 2012 our house has been silent. There are no middle of the night feedings, no crying for attention, or diaper changes. There is stillness in the air. There is less light, as I keep the nursery door closed. And far less hustle and bustle that warms a home.
This year my one Christmas wish is to have my family close to me. To be surrounded by those who were there the last day we had before we knew Zoë’s diagnosis. This year I will host Christmas dinner at my house. I will trim a tree, and put lights up around my porch, and on my hedges. I will warm my home with my oven, and fireplace. We will listen to festive music, and play holiday games, and fill our quiet home with the sound of laughter and joy.
I will do my best to distract myself. To try and calm my mind. But I know that it will be hard because this year I don’t have a little gift to give to Zoë. I don’t have a 14 month old toddler to keep away from the fireplace, and watch open gifts. I don’t have her to hold as I watch A Christmas Story, as our leg lamp lights the living room window.
Santa it is just so hard to look around and not see all of those things that I am missing this year. I know that as much as you are a miracle worker, you cannot undo what has been done this time. So instead I ask of you for a bit of peace of mind, to calm my spirit, and to allow me to honor my daughter by not turning against this holiday. To remember the wonderful Christmas I had with her.
I have learned that whenever you ask for something it is best to give something in return. So this year I will buy a toy or two and donate it to Children’s Hospital. Although Zoë is not here to open gifts there will be other little ones who would love to have a new toy to play with.
Santa if only you could grant my wish…