Wednesday, December 13, 2006


We ended up with a Christmas tree. I did not want one. I was frankly hoping that if I ignored Christmas it would go away. We have the tree because dh wanted one so badly. Putting it up wasn't too bad. It's pre-lit, so that helps. And we don't have to deal with that horrible tinsel we had at my house when I was a child. My parents would coach us to put it on one strand at a time. Ugh! Let's see how slow we can make time go. The cat loved to eat it, which invariably caused her to puke everywhere, which was not pleasant either.

My mother in law brought ornaments she made in honor of each of my children yesterday. There were five of them. I said "There are only five". She said "Yes". That was the end of the conversation. I was thinking "What about my oldest daughter? How is it possible that you forgot to include her?". I didn't say any of that because my MIL is easily offended and it is often easier to not get into things like that.

I do understand that people no longer know what to do or say around me. I try to help them by bringing up Marissa occasionally. This is the hint to go ahead and talk about her. Not many people get the idea, but some do. Mostly those who have experienced the death of someone close to them.

So in honor of Christmas and my daughter, here is a little bit about her life:

Marissa did not care about the vast majority of presents. What she cared about was the wrapping paper. She waited patiently for whoever was opening their present to finish so she could grab for the paper. We could have kept her happy just wrapping a box full of paper for her. Or that crinkly shiny paper; that was even better.

Marissa had a very few favorite toys. Her favorite of all now sits on the shelf beside her ashes. It is a simple plastic toy which requires you to push the button on the top of it in order to make the colorful balls go around. She LOVED that toy. She could make it go really fast by banging on it repeatedly.

Marissa loved to pull things onto the floor. Her favorite crashing objects were plates with food on them and glasses full of liquid. We learned that she needed to sit a bit farther away from the table than the rest of us. We also learned that she had an extremely long reach!

Marissa did not like too much sun. She wrinkled up her cute little nose. It must have hurt her eyes. She also didn't like the cold, which comes as no surprise considering it must be easy to get cold when you are non-mobile.

Marissa was my angel in life and now in death. There was always something wondrous about those brilliant blue eyes she had. She knew things the rest of us can only guess. My baby. I miss her so much.


Christine said...

I am sorry your MIL was insensitive. I have one just like that and sometimes I have no idea how she gets through life being that way.
That's a beautiful pic of your daughter.
Best wishes for the holiday season. Try to enjoy it although I know its hard. Hang in there.

Dani said...

My Goodness, she was so pretty.

I'm sorry Christmas is so hard. Christmas IS hard, especially after loosing a child. It personally took me around 4 years to really get into the Holiday spirit again.

What helped me was sending out Christmas cards. On each one of them, I stamped them with a purple dragonfly at the end of our names. For the people close to us, they knew it was for Bailey and even commented on it. We have to know that our children aren't forgotten.

Many hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Marissa, Great Teacher

Everyone's grief is so individual. Grief really has no end, it's a continuance of our first grief experience: the loss of heaven as we are born.

When someone leaves our earth, we lose our future here with them. We lose shared dreams and a huge part of ourselves.

As time goes on, we learn ways to fill in this huge hole and continue on. Everyone, no matter the loss, learns to fill in the hole.

Sometimes, we'll try it on, this sense of moving on, but then something happens the hole is torn open and the grief is there in full force. Eventually, it’s more comfortable to have the hole filled. We’ll desperately maintain this sense of moving on, only to discover that it wasn’t really that. It’s somewhere in between full and coping and open and vulnerable.

It has to be done; we have to go on, for that is what life is. We did it the day we were born—filled with love from all those around us, our new family who anticipated our arrival. Somehow we forget what it was we lost.

Every tradition, every faith, has a prescribed notion of what this looks like. The Celtic tradition is a year and a day, and then you can move on. In Judaism, the time period is a year during which celebrations are avoided by the bereaved. Some eastern cultures gather at intervals of 30 and 90 days and 3 and 5 years. Many cultures expect you to dance and shout, but no one expects you to forget. Some insist on a quick burial so the deceased can quickly get to heaven.

No one can tell you that you have completed your grief because there is really no end to it. It is a process. You’ll think about how it’s less terrible or you can feel happy, but it is still there, as it should be. It’s an honor to remember. It gives our lives meaning.

Love heals.

barefoot mama said...

Very beautiful comment. Thank you anon. and Christine and Dani, too.

Hugs to all.