The 5th of the month is always a significant date for me. Today, it marks nine months of Kyleigh being in heaven. It is a milestone for others, as well. Six months for one family and 18 months for another. It continues to be a day that stands out to me and I imagine that it will for some time.
Nine months is a big one for me. Nine months is the amount of time that Kyleigh was alive inside of me. It is the last month where she was alive longer than she has been dead. And even with that, she was still in the womb. We felt her movements and saw her grainy image on a T.V. screen every once in a while, but we didn’t get to see her smile or hear her giggles. While I cherish every moment that I had with her inside of me, I certainly do not remember every day of those nine months. I was busy with two little boys and most days were just normal, regular days. I know that I have pictures of me when I was pregnant with Kyleigh, but I did not do the traditional monthly photos like I had done when pregnant with my oldest son. During my pregnancy, I always joked with Rodger that this baby was going to be lucky to have anything in their baby book. I just didn’t keep track of things like I had before. Life got in the way and I guess you could say I took it all for granted.
Next month, she will be dead longer than she was alive. Most people probably don’t think about this as a milestone, but most people live much, much longer lives. One of my grandmas lived to be 92. She passed away in 2008. It will be the year 2100 before she has been dead the same amount of time that she was alive. I won’t even be alive then. Nine months also means it’s getting very close to one year. I have said this before, but time stands still at the same time that it flies by. This has been the longest shortest nine months of my life. I can’t believe that three months from today will mark one year.
Over this past month, our family has been grieving the loss of Rodger’s grandmother and preparing for Christmas all at the same time. Grandma Coatney passed away just after Thanksgiving and we spent the following weekend celebrating her life and spending some family time out of town. The boys had their preschool Christmas program and a train ride with Santa the following weekend. We enjoyed a weekend of rest the next weekend and then before we knew it, Christmas was upon us.
We seemed to do pretty well through all of the holiday preparations. We decided early on that our focus this year was solely on our boys. We would do what we needed to do for them and not worry about anything else. So, we put up a tree, decorated the house, made cookies and wrapped presents. We shopped online, declined party invitations and spent as much time together as a family as possible. On days when we were struggling, we called those who understood and spent time with them. For the most part, we simply did our own thing and didn’t have much contact with people outside of family. This was our way of coping and our own way of avoiding as many triggers as possible.
Then, the weekend before Christmas came and it all fell apart. Everything seemed to catch up to us and we were just a mess. We left church early on Sunday and decided not to even go on Christmas Eve. I don’t remember ever missing Christmas Eve service before. We took the boys to the zoo on Christmas Eve and spent time with my parents that evening. Christmas morning was a struggle, but I managed to do okay as we celebrated with family throughout the remainder of the day. Or so I thought, until I completely lost it over my constipated two year old. My family knew what the real reason was behind my uncontrollable sobbing and they did the only thing that could be done, they held me. They wrapped me in their arms and held me until I calmed down.
Seeing my boys excited on Christmas morning as they opened their presents brought joy to my day. Seeing Kyleigh’s stocking full of socks for Blair’s Foster Socks brought me joy, even amongst the sorrow. Hearing my oldest son sing “Happy Birthday Jesus” for our Christmas dinner prayer brought joy to everyone present. It was a hard day, but joy was still there.
I feel like I am still recovering from Christmas. It was a huge blow to my healing process and we all felt emotionally depleted when it was over. The cold, winter days aren’t helping. I went to the grocery store a few days after Christmas and they already had the shelves stocked for Valentine’s Day. It was depressing to look at. There is no break. Our society jumps from one thing to the next, afraid that they are going to miss out on something. Seeing all of the red and pink hearts left me feeling defeated. I was ready for a break from the holidays. I was ready to use January as a time to get focused for the New Year and what’s to come in the next few months. As I was talking to someone just a few days ago about the rush for stores to get the next holiday up and ready, she said, “they don’t let you breathe.” That’s exactly how it feels. I need some time to breathe. I need to walk into the grocery store and not have the next holiday thrown in my face. I need the radio stations to stop playing holiday music. I need people to stop asking me how my Christmas was when they expect a happy answer. I just need a break from it all.
Happy 9 months in heaven, Kyleigh. I know that you had the best Christmas out of all of us. We love you!