Before my girls were born, one of my favorite things about December was sending and receiving holiday cards. I thought of it like collecting trading cards, but with a deep personal connection. It was an opportunity to peek into the lives of those dearest to me- my childhood friends as they expand their families, former neighbors as their kids grow older, and family members all over the country who I see in person but once a year.
When our world stopped in 2018 and one of my twins died, the meaning behind our holiday cards changed significantly. What was once a fun project became an agonizing task.
To receive a card plastered with smiling faces, untouched by the grief we’ve experienced is filled with mixed emotions. I know that comparison is the thief of joy, but I often wonder what life would be like if we were the ones smiling through a healthy pregnancy, tiring infancy, and chaotic twin toddlerhood. I am genuinely happy for my friends, but this is one of those striking times that sadness and joy truly coexist.
Sending a card involves a string of difficult decisions. This is the first year that we included representation of A on our card. We want nothing more than to include and honor our child who is missing from our photos, but we struggle to commit to that choice knowing that there are members of our circle who have chosen not to acknowledge her.
In the past, it was easy to sign “Love Pat, Jess, and Bo”, but this year we opted to solely write our family name...the thought of seeing our names listed without my A is heartbreaking.
Knowing that we will have decades of cards to come in her absence will never get easier. I will always strive to represent her as I do my living child in our forever incomplete picture. This is a way that I get to parent her- keeping her memory alive.
Sending love and strength to those missing someone from their cards this year.