Larissa writes again this Christmas for Sands, sharing how her first Christmas was spent following the stillbirth of precious Ariella.
Ariella’s first Christmas was nothing like we had imagined. Instead of looking at her unwrap presents; all we had to look at were photos and her grave. And all through December, the anticipation of knowing that that was all Christmas Day would be was heartbreaking. I was also scared that people wouldn’t remember our baby girl and that the loneliness of the day would be amplified by people’s silence. I guess you could say that I was an emotional mess! That year I participated in Carly Marie’s Capture Your Grief and when the prompt was “seasons” I posted this photo of a broken ornament. Broken. It’s how I felt and how the Christmas season felt too. And that’s why we decided to do something different: we spent Christmas alone.
Christmas in my family normally means a big gathering of the extended family. But that year I didn’t think I could face so many people. (Although if I’m honest, I didn’t think I could face any people besides my husband.) To not join in with that tradition did make me feel a bit guilty for a while. I have no idea if they expected me to be there but I subconsciously expected it of myself. It felt strange planning to spend Christmas with just my husband but it also felt freeing. It was what I needed, it was what we both needed that year. Choosing to do what we needed instead of what we thought would be expected of us was so, so lovely. And it’s turned into a new tradition.
Each year since that first one, we have made the same lunch, taken it to the same beach and just relaxed. We’ll do it again this year. We do now go to the big family dinner but lunch is the time we can spend together and remember our precious Ariella. As our other children grow older we hope to continue this tradition of spending time together amidst the business of Christmas, remembering Ariella.
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Larissa is a wife to Marcus and a mother to three beautiful children – Ariella Jade in
Heaven and Levi William and Seanna in her arms. She loves spaghetti bolognaise and the smell of rain, but neither of them could make her smile when, after a textbook pregnancy, Ariella unexpectedly died at 39 weeks gestation. No reason was ever found for her death. Soon after Ariella’s death Larissa began writing. You can find her posts at
Deeper Still (www.loveisdeeperstill.blogspot.com) and on Still Standing Magazine (http://stillstandingmag.com/author/larissa).