Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Thanksgiving: If not thankful, grateful
This Thanksgiving...is going to be weird. What was supposed to be our first holiday with our son turned out to be our first without him.
Last Thanksgiving, we'd really just started talking seriously about when to have kids. We'd decided that 2012 would be it. It's crazy to look back at how different our lives are now. I never would have guessed that we'd get pregnant so fast. And I never would have guessed that we'd have a son...and then lose him, in the very same year.
So much has changed.
It's hard for me to talk about being thankful right now. I'm so bitter. I'm still hurt, and I don't know how to make this go away. In all honesty, it won't. Luke will never come back. But I have my better days. And I'm thankful that the really terrible days seem to be making fewer appearances.
There's Jeff. My rock. I'm not convinced I would have survived labor if Jeff wasn't there with me through every terrible step that we took that day we lost Luke. I literally told myself I had to make it through this...for him. If for no other reason than I couldn't possibly leave him alone. In some ways, I feel like losing Luke has brought us closer together, and I hate that that's what it took.
I say that a lot. There's so many things I've learned since losing Luke. I had no idea just how many people cared about us before this. I had a charmed life before. We have friends and family who we obviously know cared about us. But the depth?
There's our immediate family and closest friends--Who walked every terrible step of this journey side-by-side with us, and shared so much of our grief in those hours and days immediately after everything happened. Luke's death...hurt them as much as it did us. All those expectations of life in the future...were nearly as shattered for them as they were for us.
I know I still haven't answered many of those messages and emails and text messages that I've gotten from many of you in the past couple of months. Just know that they haven't gone unnoticed. Every single one came through. And I'm so grateful to all of you that have reached out to us. Who brought us dinner. Sent us cards.
I feel so lucky to be able to call Gallup my other family. And the same goes for Jeff and his coworkers. Things could have been so much more difficult for us had we not had such an amazing support system of friends where we work.
Then there's everyone who donated and walked for Luke's team for the OC Walk to Remember. I still can't comprehend how much support there was. For walking with us. And for all of your donations made in Luke's name. The day Ali set up that page for us, and we saw everything rolling in, even from some of YOUR friends that we didn't even know? It was a ray of light in our terrible journey. It restored my faith in humanity, honestly. The outpouring of love and support from so many people touched us so deeply.
Through this blog, I've read about so many other families that have gone through the same things we have. Every story is sort of different, but it breaks my heart that this happens to other people too. But I find strength in reading your stories. We're all in different places in our journeys through grief, but I'm so glad we have each other to relate to. No one should know this pain, but I'm so thankful that I'm not the only one carrying it and sharing it.
This is our first holiday without our son, and I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate my way through this phase of my life that I never saw coming--Never made plans for.
I feel cheated and sad and angry that Luke was stolen from us. But if there's anything I can ask of all of you who love us and Luke...it's to remember him. Remember his birthday each year. And all that could have been for him. I wish every day that this could all be different, but I know that none of us can ever change it. We'll forever have an empty seat at our Thanksgiving table without him. And that hurts my heart.