Thursday, December 27, 2007

Celebrating a Birth... Grieving a Loss

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As I sit here putting photos on my blog... I can't help but feel like it is an unnatural thing for me to be doing. It is one thing to share my feelings regarding how Aaron Jr and I are doing, but it is a strange feeling to do something so normal as to include photos in my blog postings. It feels strange enough that I didn't put them in originally in the last couple of postings, but added them later realizing that people might like to see the rocking horse that Aaron Jr got and also see that we did some normal Christmas stuff.

Ever since we were married, Aaron has always stuffed a stocking for me. My favorite memory of a year that he did a stocking was the year we had Aaron Jr... 2005. Aaron Jr was born on December 1st and even though that was the greatest month of our lives, it was also one of the toughest for me physically. Not only did I get strep throat in that month after the baby was born, I also got an infection from complications during the birth... those two things combined caused me to have a fever of 104.5 one night. Plus, I also got an infection from complications with nursing Aaron Jr. So... all in all, it was a rough month for me physically. Anyhow... we had decided that Christmas for us was going to be our new baby and the joy we received from that.
Well, one night really close to Christmas, Aaron ran to Walgreens to fill a prescription for me and was gone a while. When he got back, I was laying on the couch with Aaron Jr and trying to relax. Throughout that night, he kept coming to me and asking questions about the sewing machine. At one point, something went wrong with the needle, so he even had to bring the whole sewing machine over to the couch and I fixed it while I layed there. I was under orders to stay laying down.
Well... the next morning, I woke up to a brand new homemade Christmas stocking filled to the brim with all kinds of things that Aaron found at Walgreens. Candy, shampoo, conditioner, gum, cough drops, etc. It was so sweet. He always did such thoughtful things for me. I felt so bad that I hadn't done anything for him... but he didn't care. He never cared... as long as he could do something for me. I love that about him. So, that is my most treasured memory from a Christmas with Aaron.
I didn't get anything in my stocking from Aaron this year, but I did fill Aaron Jr's. I knew Aaron would have.

This puffy vest wasn't supposed to be a gift for Christmas, but Aaron bought it for Aaron Jr a couple of months ago and Aaron Jr hadn't worn it yet... so I brought it out on Christmas and had him wear it as though it was a gift from Aaron this Christmas. He fell asleep watching Teletubbies. He loves that show.

In the afternoon, we went to the cemetery for the first time. We went out with Aaron's parents and also Aaron's brother, Steve, and his family. I just didn't want Christmas to go by without going out there... to have our family together on Christmas. It was a very sobering feeling to be standing there at my own husband's grave. Each time I do something that should tell me how final this is and that this is my 'normal' now... when I am done... it still doesn't feel real. Almost like we are all pretending, but he will be coming back really soon. The next photo is of Aaron Jr and me at the gravesite. I just can't believe it. How can this be real?

I couldn't leave without stepping a heart shape in the snow and writing something to Aaron in the untouched snow above him.

I left a copy of this photo on his grave with a note I wrote for him. This is of our family on Christmas last year. I miss you so much Aaron.

I didn't feel like celebrating on Christmas. All I could think about was what we were missing. I feel like Aaron was with us that day... and I pray that that is true... but I wanted so badly to just hold him and for him to hold me. I kept thinking about how Christmas is a day for celebrating the birth of our Savior. I kept trying really hard to have a nice day even though I don't feel whole anymore. There is half of me missing. There is a big hole in my heart that just isn't getting filled. There is an ache in my soul that hurts no matter what I do.

I AM grateful for this day that we celebrate the birth of Christ, who was born in humble surroundings, who lived a perfect life, who suffered all things for us, and died so that we may live again. I know that He suffered even the pain that I am feeling at this time. To know that He suffered more than I am suffering right now... I am in awe. To know that He not only suffered my pain, but the pain of every person that has ever lived and ever will live... I am just so overwhelmingly grateful. I am amazed that He would do this for me. I am so grateful for my Savior. I know that He is waiting for me to cast my burden upon Him. (Psalms 55:22) Isn't it a miracle that we are invited to do this? I am so grateful.

One more experience I wanted to share is something that happened today (the day after Christmas). I was showing Aaron Jr a photo of his Daddy on the computer and it was a close up photo, so his head was almost life sized. Well, Aaron Jr was up on the chair sitting in front of the computer and pointed to the computer and said "Daddy". Then he reached for the computer and tried to put his hands around the back of Aaron's neck, but couldn't. Then, as his hands rested on the computer screen on either side of Aaron's face, he said "Hold you." So, I leaned down and I asked him, "What did you say?" (I just wanted to make sure I had heard him correctly.) And Aaron Jr said again, "Hold you" as he had his hands on the computer screen. What is a mother supposed to do in that situation? I can't even explain the agony I was in knowing that I couldn't make that happen. I couldn't do anything that would allow Aaron to be there to hold his son. Even as I sit here typing this experience, I am sobbing and wishing so hard that I could make it so Aaron Jr could have been held by his Daddy today. He just doesn't understand.

We love you Aaron. We miss you so much.

* * *


Kristi said...

And now I am here with tears streaming. I wish I could make it right for you and Aaron too. Unfortunately there is nothing I, or anyone can do or say that will reverse this pain. Well, besides the Savior. I did enjoy your Christmas message about the Savior. IT was very uplifting. I also enjoyed the story from two Christmases ago. It is very sweet. We weren't around that Christmas and I hadn't even heard that story before. I am glad that you could share your thoughts and feelings. We love you.

Joann said...

I can't even read what I am writing because of my tear-filled eyes. I love you Leslie. Thank you for your strength.

seesalou said...

that was a rip-your-heart-out story. sweet little thing. i'm sure he still remembers aaron holding him, with his arms wrapped around him. thank you for your thoughts. we need to know them. we need to remember. love you.

Lorianne said...

Love you Leslie. Sure wish we could take your pain and heartache away and fill the awful void felt by you and Aaron Jr. I am sure Aaron is able to watch over you both from time to time and when you feel he is there, he probably is. Just remember it is because of Christmas and all the Saviour did for us that we have the hope to be together again. with the ones we love. We will be sure to give Aaron Jr extra hugs every time we see him.

Anonymous said...

Leslie. Your blog is my new favorite site. Although it makes me cry, I love to read your feelings, hear the sweet memories and see the pictures. You are AMAZING! I admire your courage to put your feelings into words. I still hurt for you and pray for you daily. Please keep writing and know that there are so many people out there who love you! Laura Lewis

Melinda said...

That story of Aaron Jr. wanting to hold his daddy breaks my heart! I am so glad you are sharing these thoughts and feelings, Leslie. I pray that you will have comfort.
Love, Mindy
p.s. Aaron Jr. looks adorable in that vest!

Karey said...

Thanks for putting your thoughts into words for the rest of us. I long to take some of your pain on myself. I would if I could. You are in my prayers constantly and I love you.

Liz said...

Leslie I am glad that you are writing your thoughts and feelings, although heart wrenching that they are. I love hearing these stories also. I am sure that there are many angels around Aaron Jr comforting him. Thank you once again for sharing your testimony.

Anonymous said...


I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I'd like to request permission to use a photograph of yours in this book. Please contact me at, and I'd be happy to give you more information about the project. Please paste a link to your blog in the subject field. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



Adrienne Orrock said...


my name is Adrienne. I found your blog through your comment to Emily Jones' about John's death. I was friends with them a few years back. Anyways, I just started reading your story, and when I read this post about your little boy wanting his daddy to hold him I just cried. I am so sorry to you and your son. I wish there were words that I could say that could truly share with you how heartbroken I am for the two of you. My husband and I lost our first baby just a few months ago, and since then I have realized how many people have incredibly difficult situations in life, and I believe all of ours are included. Please know that you're in my prayers. I'll keep reading to see how you're doing, but I just wanted you to know that I'm reading your story. I wish you much comfort on your upcoming angel day.

with love,