This year I thought a lot about what I needed this Christmas. Like I mentioned earlier, I had trouble answering people when they asked me what I wanted or needed for Christmas. The truth is, I just wanted Isaac here... and yes, I would even go so far as to say that there's a part of me that feels like I need him here. I just miss him.
While Isaac wasn't here with us this Christmas, nor will he ever physically be until we're reunited with him in Heaven, there was a lot of ways that he was present with us this Christmas... and truthfully, I have my family to thank for that.
We started the morning at the cemetery, and while it was comforting to have a place to go to be "with" him, I just couldn't help but think, "I can't believe that this is where I will be spending each Christmas with my son..." I still don't think that realization has fully set in.
From the cemetery, we headed up to my mom's. She purchased two kids' Christmas books for us to have in memory of Isaac... my favorite one growing up (a scratch and sniff nonetheless!) and her favorite one growing up, entitled The Littlest Angel. There was also a beautiful little angel of rememberance pin and an angel ornament. My sister, Kate, and her husband, Tim, gave us a Christmas ball with pictures of them with Isaac in it, too. These things were so thoughtful and sweet.
The part that moved me the most, though, was at my aunt's. Admitedly, I was a little nervous to be around so many people all day long. My extended family is a ton of fun to be with... always lots of laughs; but I just wasn't sure that I felt like laughing. It's been hard feeling like I want to celebrate when my heart is still so broken. And I wasn't sure if people would feel comfortable asking me about Isaac or not... it can just be a hard thing.
Anyhow, each year we do a stocking exchange that involves clues and guessing who gave each person's stocking to whom. It's a little confusing, and I am not sure that we all even understand the "rules." After the exchange was done, my aunt Janie announced that she had one more stocking to give. My heart started to pound... hard... when I realized what she was up to. She mentioned how much she wished that Isaac was here with us this Christmas, but that he would always be remembered. Inside the stocking were contributions from various family members towards Isaac's playground.
Needless to say, I just lost it... and the tears just started flowing. Tears of sadness because my sweet son isn't here and I wish so badly that he was; but also tears of gratitude that they remembered... that I got to hear Isaac's name on Christmas... it was just what I needed.
I wanted to leave you with just a few pictures from our day...
An ornament we made with Isaac's footprints and birth information thanks to the generosity of the String of Pearls ministry...
The Rochfort sibblings... my uncle Dick, aunt Janie, uncle Steve, and my Dad!
The gang... TOP left to right: my brother-in-law Tim, step-brother Brendan, cousin Emily, cousin Meghan, cousin Doug, Spencer; BOTTOM left to right: sister Kate, cousin Grace, me, cousin Annie; front and center: cousin Missy
Thank you for continuing to lift us up in prayer, for continuing to encourage us, and for continuing to walk with us. It's my hope that your Christmas will filled with love and peace as you celebrated our Savior's birth.