Monday, December 28, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

So we made it through Christmas.  No, we didn't just make it, we were carried through.  God brought us much comfort and joy.  That's not to say that no tears were shed.  There were.  But just like when a baby is comforted by the love in it's mothers arms, we too were comforted by our Father's love.
These are just a few of the things people had given us and we had picked out to help remember our baby girl this Christmas.


This is Shyla's ornament that we left on her stone.  Next year, we will hang this one on our tree and get her a new one.  I had a matching one with Mom on it on our tree at home.We left that pink tree there for her too.
We just loved this angel ornament with a pink dragonfly on it.  The picture really just does not give it justice.  It is really beautiful.
We gave these dragonfly ornaments to our family to put on their trees to remember Shyla.

This ornament was given to us by the funeral home that helped us with Shyla's service.  They held a remembrance service December 13. 

I participated in a secret Santa with other mom's that I met online who lost a baby due in November 2009.  This is one of the gifts from my "Santa".  Isn't it beautiful!  She also gave me a georgeous journal that I love!

This was a gift from a beautiful woman I am blessed enough to work with.  She painted this block as Christmas gift and I was so overwhelmed.  I'm afraid I could not adequately thank her for remembering my precious daughter.  It's rare for anyone to mention her, much less add her to our gift. 

These were made by my aunt.  Again, it meant so much just to have her remembered.

As the holidays approached, I really wasn't dreading them too badly.  Then, last Monday, my cousin's three month old baby tragically died unexpectedly.  The baby was the same age Shyla would have been and I was overcome with grief (I will have to write more about the revelation God gave me in this grief later).  So when Christmas Eve came, I just wanted to lay in bed.  Seriously.  I had been awake for a while, but didn't want to be.  I knew Ben was awake, but I didn't know what to say to him.  Ben must have noticed I was awake and simply said, "Merry Christmas Eve" and I broke down.  I cried so hard.  God was teaching me something.  For now, lets just say "lesson learned".  I will try not to question this pain anymore.  We went on with our plans for the day.  Christmas Eve lunch with my Mom, brothers, sis-in-law and 6 month old neice was the first thing on the agenda.  My older brother lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and daughter and my younger brother is away at college, so it was nice to have everybody together.  The last time we were all together was Shyla's funeral, so I can't say that didn't cross my mind.  We opened our traditional Christmas Eve gifts from Mom, new PJ's then it was off to the in-laws.
We made the hour and a half drive and had dinner and exchanged gifts with my husbands sister, brother-in-law, neice, brother, father and mother.  We had a good time and Ethan got lots of new toys and clothes.  He was so much fun to watch open gifts.  As he would tear into them he would say, "What is it Mommy?!?!?"  He was SO funny!  God has blessed me so much with him.  I don't know I would have gotten through without the love and excitement he had through Christmas.
We drove back home and stopped in at Mom's again to read the Christmas story from Luke and light our Christmas Eve candle.  Mom gave the kids some more gifts and then we went home.
Christmas Morning came and we read through all of the notes in Shyla's stocking.  You may remember we asked friends and family to help in filling her stocking by doing random acts of kindess.  This was such a beautiful way to begin our Christmas morning and I am so glad we did this.  We cried and laughed and had such joy in the kindess of others.  Thank you to everyone who helped to spread a little Joy in memory of our baby girl.

We woke up Ethan early and got started opening presents.  I got something really beautiful from Ben.  Keep reading to see what it was.  Ethan had so much fun!

We went to Mom's and my dad was already there.  My parents got divorced when I was about five, but he still comes every Christmas Morning to my Mom's house to be with us and now our kids.  We had sausage balls and muffins and breakfast cassarole.  We spent the afternoon playing our new Wii games with the family and then had Christmas night at my Grandma's house with my brothers, cousins, cousins kids, aunts and uncles.  There were about 23 of us I think.  8 kids from 6 months to 10 years old.  My brothers baby was the center of attention, and she should be, she was the youngest.  But Shyla should have been there.  That would have been her grand debut.  It hurt so much, not having her there.  I felt like everyone was a little afraid to speak to me.  I hope I didn't look as fragile as I felt.  I'm glad I made it through with relatively few moments where I had to compose myself.  It was hard, but I did smile and I was there, so I think I did good.
 Once, my neice was needing a nap and my Mom was trying to rock her, but there was just too much commotion in the living room.  I took her to the darkness of my Grandma's bedroom and I sang to her and rocked her and in moments she was fast asleep.  I took her back into the living room and sat in my Grandpa's recliner to rock her.  My Grandpa past away 2 1/2 years ago due to a massive stroke seven days before his seventy-seventh birthday.  I was really close to my Grandpa and the ache of his absence is still very strong, especially at Christmas.  So for me, this was a special moment.  Rocking my neice, this beautiful little girl, in my Grandpa's chair.  While she wasn't my daughter, I felt so close to Shyla in that moment.  Maybe my neice was dreaming about her or maybe God just was hugging me tight at that moment so I did not notice how empty my arms are.  Whatever the reason, that was just the most special part of the evening.  

Then, before my brother and his family left to go back to Oklahoma, I just had to get one more picture of the cousins together.

(Do you see the dragonfly they are playing with?  Cute, huh?)

I would post pictures of all of the sweet things my mother got me, but the post would go on forever.  The list includes a canvas print of one of the pictures I took of the flowers in Shyla's arangement.  It is beautiful.  She also got me th really neat dragonfly wall hanging and a frame.  As always, she got us all more than she should have, but she has such a giving spirit, she can't really help herself.

And while all of these gifts were great, Ben, my wonderful, caring, awesome husband got the most beautiful one.

Those are Shyla's footprints.

Like I said...BEAUTIFUL!


Lynn said...

Oh, Mattie! The necklace is stunning! I'm so glad you can physically hold Shyla close to your heart as well as spiritually.

I'm glad you were able to find comfort during the holidays and love in your family. I'm sure when you were rocking your niece, Shyla was there whispering stories of how great you are in her ear :)

Kelli with Love said...

Absolutely beautiful. When I saw the photo of you and your niece on facebook earlier, I wanted to comment...but I couldn't find the right words. You put it perfectly as you said you felt so close to Shyla and that God was filling your arms with your niece so you wouldn't feel so empty. I just thought the photo was beautiful. It made me sad that it wasn't your dear Shyla though. I'm glad you guys had a Merry Christmas. The ornaments are beautiful too by the way.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a beautiful Christmas and such a beautiful moment with your niece. I am sure there were difficult moments. *hugs*

Heather said...

I am so glad Shyla was remembered by so many. And I absolutely LOVE the necklace!

Karen said...

I am glad you found some peace and comfort during Christmas and that you are leaning on Him. It was so nice to see all who remembered your Shyla.

And the necklace is beautiful=)...