One of my New Years Resolutions this year is to blog everyday. Not because I really think anyone cares that much about what I have to say, but because blogging is how I journal and I want to be better about keeping a history of my life.
Before I can blog about all of my New Years Resolutions I have to get Christmas up here! This was a great Christmas full of lots of love, laughter, and tears. It was our first Christmas without my brother Jake and our first Christmas with Baby E. I can sum it up in two words, "Bitter, Sweet".
For my parents gift this year I put together a "Jake Tree" for our family. I contacted as many friends and family as I could and asked them to send me an ornament that reminded them of my brother Jake to give to my parents. I am amazed at how many people participated!!! My parents thought that we were coming the Day after Christmas, but we showed up Christmas Eve to surprise them. My moms friend Gina helped me get the tree so that it was already to go when we got there. Gina and her family came with us to surprise my parents at the door. My mom screamed when she realized it was us and there were many tears. My parents friends the Jackson's also came over to watch them unwrap the "Jake Tree Ornaments". Each of these ornaments was so special and precious. You could feel the thought and love that went into picking each of them out. I am so grateful to have so many people help me with this project. We had so many ornaments that in no time the Jake Tree was full and we had to add ornaments to my parents Christmas Tree. Watching my parents open these gifts from so many of their friends and family was so tender. I could feel Jake's spirit there with us and just picture the huge smile on his face as each of these ornaments was opened. Some were so silly and PERFECT for his tree. Having this tree up over the Holidays brought so much peace, it filled my parents home with Jake's memory. I know his spirit was with us throughout the Holiday's!
We had a great Christmas morning. The girls slept in my sisters room with her, and they were ready to go bright and early!!! The kids loved seeing what Santa had brought them. And were so sweet and grateful for all of the gifts they received. My mom made us all "Jake Blankets" out of scraps of his old clothes and other scraps of fabric she had saved over the past 28 years. She had lots of help from many friends and I am so grateful to all of the amazing people who helped make this Christmas so special for our family. After we had finished our Christmas morning we all got ready and went to Church. I LOVE when Christmas is on a Sunday, it is so nice to be able to go to Church and worship the Savior on Christmas Day. The Sacrament services were very nice and I really enjoyed the Christ centered talks. After Church we walked over to the Cemetery to visit Jake's grave. This is the first time I have been there since his funeral. It was incredibly difficult and made his death all the more real to me. There are many days where I still wake up hoping this past six months since he has been gone was just a horrible nightmare. I did feel a lot of peace while we were there. It felt good to know that there is still a part of him here on this earth. I know that might sound strange, but just knowing that his earthly body was there with us brought me peace. The kids wanted to sing Jake some Christmas songs. So we all circled around his grave and the kids sang a few songs they had learned at school. Then our whole family sang Silent Night together. WOW, did that start the water works! I was holding it all together until that point. As we got ready to leave both of my parents knelt down and placed their hands on the grass where he is buried. I couldn't help but bawl as I witnessed their heartache. I put my hands next to theirs and just sobbed. I still can't believe this happened, I can't believe he is really gone, and I am at times still angry because I just want him back!
I will never forget this Christmas and the amazing spirit that filled my parents home. I was so worried that the house would fill empty without Jake, he was always the life of the party. The house felt just the opposite, it was filled with love and it truly felt like Jake was there.
I am so grateful to have had such a nice Christmas. I love being a mother and seeing Christmas through my children's eyes. I love to see their excitement and joy on Christmas morning. This Christmas was truly one to remember.
*I really need to start taking pictures the right way on my phone ;)