Friday, December 27, 2013

Aww, the Goodness of the Season..

I have to say that I was having a hard time dealing with my sad, broken heart, trying to not think about the fact that last year things were so different, and trying really hard to be happy for the kids.  It was really bugging me because I LOVE the reason for Christmas.  I detest the commercialization of it all, so I have always tried really hard to relax and not get too uptight and so busy that I forget the entire reason for the celebration.  I was trying really hard to concentrate on the Savior, his birth and what that means.  It is the reason that we have hope, because he was born and died and lives again so that we can also.  There is such relief in that knowledge, that all is not lost.  I was struggling because it is so surreal to think that a year ago our family was so different.
Christmas Eve arrived and we started making preparations for our dinner and visit to the cemetery.  While I was on the treadmill my friend sent me a text telling me that the funeral for our friend that had died was at 11:00 that morning!  It was already 9:30.  I quickly got ready because this was a lady that 19 years ago changed how we grieved the loss of our sweet Trevin.  At the time that Trevin died we were living in her neighborhood.  She is from Finland and it is a Finnish tradition to have a big dinner on Christmas Eve and then go to the cemetery and light candles for those you love.  Trevin died on December 9th, so they invited us over for Christmas Eve that year.  We continued to join them at the cemetery for several years.  Then we started doing our own and having some of our own family come with us and share in that sacred tradition.  It was so appropriate that her funeral, the celebration of her life, would be on Christmas Eve.  It was such a beautiful funeral.   What a great lady she was.  She will be truly missed.   I am forever grateful for her and that shared tradition.
I was especially grateful this year that  I decided 19 years ago that Christmas Eve was my day to be sad and miss Trevin, and now Tatum.  So tender this year because we would now be going to a different cemetery, and now there are two of our children there.  It all just felt so sad and wrong.  I just wished that it was different.  Several of my friends were so kind to remember, among all of the hustle and bustle, that this was going to be a hard day for us.  Treats, cards, ornaments, etc.  Unbelievable how good people are.  The kind things that were said, it truly made the day bearable.  
 Then my awesome niece and her husband showed up to our house with these adorable houses that they made!  There is a T hanging under the wreathe on the door and the windows on the door create a W.  Seriously?  so creative.   They brought one for us to keep at our house and one to put out at the cemetery for Trevin and Tatum.  The goodness just continued.
Lance cleared us a little walk way to the grave of Tates and Trev.  Our tradition is that we each light a tea light and sing carols, always ending with Silen Night.  Then we place the candles around them.  The lights are so symbolic.  The light that they both shared with all of us is  unforgettable.  To me it is our way of honoring that gift, and promising to never forget and to never let the darkness that can come with grief and missing them overcome us.  Never.  I will try my hardest to always live in a way that I share their light, the light of the Savior, the light of the gospel with those around me.  
 We came home and opened pajamas, another Christmas Eve tradition.  Hilary and Holden were so excited.

 Hayden's pajamas appropriately say "smiling is my favorite".  Not by accident. (famous quote from Elf)
Hilary was not too sure about the 5am wake up call for Christmas morning, neither was dad since we got to bed around 2am:)
 Halea was ready to rock and roll.
Hilary warmed up to the idea of being awake so early once she caught the vision of the presents!
 Never enough gummy bears for this girl..
Hilary got a Fufa shirt from Tates.
Heidi sizing up her new leggings..

Overall it was a great Christmas.  I love being home for Christmas.  We are so blessed in so many ways.  We have been given gifts that are immeasurable, family and the gospel and the knowledge that comes with that are at the top of the list.  We are so grateful for the goodness that has been shown to us during this hard first Christmas.  Tender mercies that were so needed and appreciated.  

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