It’s Not all Black & White

 There is no black and white when it comes to grief. It’s not as if your emotions are predictable. They are a mess. All over the place. This month has really opened my eyes to the fact that there is nothing wrong with that. A friend put it like this “Sometimes we simply forget that it’s okay to change our minds.” Yes. It’s okay to change your mind. It happens all of the time. Especially when your grieving and it happens when you don’t even realize it’s happening.

My idea was to “boycott” Christmas this year to avoid the pain of Jake not being with us. When I use the word boycott I mean that as a dramatic way of “simplifying.” No lights, decorations, tree, big holiday dinner-you know, the normal holiday stuff. But as the month carries on I find myself wanting the joy more and more. Just a taste of it. And that confuses me. Again, not black and white. But is anything black and white really? Isn’t there always at least one shade in-between everything. Isn’t there always another way?

Can’t it be many shades at once? There can be sadness and joy at the same time. There can be confusion and clarity. There can be anger and forgiveness. There can be a single stocking hanging without the entire room lit up like the North Pole. I can enjoy Christmas music one day and not the next. I can embrace some new traditions but not want to return to some of the old ones. Like hanging an ornament on a memorial tree instead of your own? It’s not all black and white. It can be any shade you need to get through a difficult time. And that’s okay. It’s not wrong.

It’s grief.


Everything holiday-ish in our home right now is only in honor of Jake. Ornaments people have sent for him, a small nativity set next to his indoor urn, a single stocking hanging and decorations on his lighthouse. I wanted to honor him, even in our aching hearts and empty home this year. It’s still my baby’s first Christmas-no matter where he is and he will always be honored in our home. I refuse to tuck him away. I will never do that.

Even if it seems easier to.


What will Christmas Day look like in our home? I have no idea. I am sure it will involve a lot of tears and a lot of snuggling. Perhaps a pajama day on the couch or maybe Bret will talk me into another adventure…who knows. It’s also okay to not have it all planned out. I believe everything will unfold just the way it is meant to.

I wish I could predict the day. I would be awoken way too early by a hungry baby. But this time I wouldn’t mind the awful night’s sleep because after all, it’s Christmas! I would dress up my little boy in the sweetest “Baby’s First Christmas” outfit I was able to find. Shake my husband until he finally woke up. Morning coffee a must. Christmas music to set the stage and presents by the tree in which were half a waste because he only cared about chewing on the wrapping paper anyway. Tons of pictures. Joy. All joy. No tears. That’s what I imagined last year when we announced we were pregnant. Finally, a Christmas with no more pain.

jake xmas

But it’s not all black and white. And that’s not what this Christmas will look like.

I suppose it will look like every shade in between.





I’m choosing to be okay with whatever gets us through the day.

Grief is teaching me that. Along with so many other things.

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau

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