Sunday, December 4, 2011

Baby Marc's Stocking Project

Our sweet Marcus would be five months old tomorrow. The holidays have been hard. Thanksgiving was completely awful. If you know me you know that I try with all my might to be positive and live my life as if Marc were here but sometimes you just have to let yourself succumb to the sadness for a little while. I know I have so many things to be thankful for but this Thanksgiving all I could think about was what I did not have, what I did not get to experience and what I should be doing. I should have been dressing baby Marc in a cute Thanksgiving outfit and taking him to see his daddy's family for his first Thanksgiving. I was up at 3:30am to open at Starbucks Thanksgiving morning and so when we went to Marc's aunts house I was sleep deprived and depressed. His family is so loving and the greeting and hugs were nice but overwhelming at the same time. As the family gathered for a prayer I could feel myself about to lose it and sure enough about two sentence into the prayer I broke down. Marc had to practically carry me to another room and I was sobbing so hard I was hyperventilating.

I am hoping that Christmas will not be as bad as Thanksgiving. I was downplaying the holidays for the past few months, I thought that they would not be that difficult. How could they be any worse than what I was already feeling? Now that the holidays are upon us I can see why they are hard. Part of it might be because in November we hit our four month mark. A time often talked about at the MEND support group as being a time when for whatever strange reason a new wave of grief floods into your world. Maybe four months is when some of the shock starts to wear off. I can see that because the moments where I have real clarity that this is my life now come more often. This is my life. This is my life, living without my baby. The realization that this is something I will have to endure always and there is no waking up from this nightmare seems more real than ever. Maybe it is because the holidays are a time when everyone seems to be so happy and they are spending time with their families. How can we be happy with such a huge part of our family missing? Usually I have my tree up the day after Thanksgiving and I have forced my poor husband to string the lights around the house but it is now December 4th and still no tree or lights. I still have pumpkins that I had planned to try and carve sitting on the front porch.  We have been looking for ways to incorporate Marc into our traditions and to keep his memory alive in our family. I know that Marc and I will give baby Marc many little brothers and sisters and my hope is that we will be able to raise those children knowing about him and loving their big brother. We already started one thing that was suggested to us by some mothers in our support group. Every year we will pick a little boy from the Salvation Army Angel tree who is about how old Marc would be and get a gift for him. We also asked our friends and family who were planning on getting Marc a gift to do this as well and send us a picture or the angel tree info and what they purchase so I can put it in baby Marc's scrapbook.  It was really hard to go shopping for the little 8 month old we picked this year and I cried after we bought him a coat and a thermal shirt.  I could not help but think that I should be shopping for Christmas presents for Marcus. Marc reminded me that this is how things are and all we can do is find ways to remember our sweet boy and create a legacy for him. It is something that Rebekah Brewer Mitchell, the amazing woman who started the MEND (mommies enduring neonatal death) group, says often. She says that we have to create a legacy for our babies since they are not here to do it themselves.

I used to love the Elvis Christmas song Blue Christmas, and this year it takes on a new meaning for me. Marc and I will most likely have a very blue Christmas but there is something you can do to brighten our day. A day when I will be fighting off the "I should" thoughts. I should be watching a five and a half month old laugh at the Christmas wrapping paper. I should be taking him to get his picture made with Santa. The "I should be" list is forever long.

I should be watching him open his stocking on Christmas morning, I should have a stocking for Marc filled with baby toys but instead I am asking you to help me fill his stocking with things that will help create a legacy for him.
I am challenging you to please do one random act of kindness for someone between now and Christmas. It can be small, it can be big, just as long as it is something that is kind and as long as you as you are doing it you are thinking of our sweet baby Marcus. Once you have completed your random act of kindness please email me at with a short description of what you did. In the subject line please write DO NOT OPEN RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS or something along those lines. This way I will not read them, instead I will print them out immediately, fold them up and tuck them away into baby Marc's stocking. Marc and I will open the stocking on Christmas morning and instead of thinking of what we should be doing we will be able to read about all the good things you did in honor of our baby. This will be so comforting to us and I know I am giving you only 20 days for this project but it would mean so much if you could please consider doing this for us.