Following Parker's death, I found myself dreading his due date, October 19th. However, Geoff and I did so well that day. It had landed on a Sunday. We went to church, had dinner with his parents, like we usually do, and then we went home. It was a normal day, not a single sad thought or emotion in sight.
After making it successfully through that day, I found myself dreading Thanksgiving, to some degree. I was dreading it because it would be the first holiday that we would be celebrating following Parker's death. Geoff and I had no clue how Thanksgiving would be for us. However, when the day finally came, everything was just...fine. It was wonderful, in fact. Grady had invited a friend over for Thanksgiving dinner, BJ had flown in from Arizona, and everything was...fine, perfectly fine and normal.
This gave me hope. It gave both Geoff and I hope that Christmas would be perfectly fine and normal.
As the Christmas season approached, following Halloween...HA, oh just kidding. Anyway, as the Christmas season approached, Geoff and I kept tabs on each others emotions. We constantly asked the other how they were doing, how they were handling the fast approaching Christmas. So far, we were doing just fine. It was great, Christmas looked really hopeful.
December 23rd came fast, this was the night that we celebrated Christmas with the Harmon's before heading off to Yakima to be with my family for Christmas. We arrived at Mark and Vanessa's at about 9:30, following the sad loss of BSU to TCU (sad for Geoff) at the Poinsettia bowl. Geoff and I brought a yummy treat for everyone to enjoy, as well as all of their presents to open. I was so excited to have this early Christmas. We opened everyones presents. A beautiful purse from Stefanie to me, an awesome Ferrari shirt from Stefanie for Geoff, and some other fun gifts as well. It was a great Christmas.
Then, before all the presents were over, Geoff opened up a shirt from his parent's. It was a shirt that Vanessa had purchased for Geoff when I was pregnant with Parker. It has a white background with a bunch of different black guitars on it. She bought the same shirt for Parker, only his was black with white guitars on it. Geoff was with her when she bought them, and knew that he would have to wait until Christmas to have it. The night we found out Parker had died, Geoff thought about those shirts. I think he was sort of excited about that gift in a bitter sweet sort of way. When he opened it, on Tuesday night, he was so excited to finally have that shirt. He then asked his mom about Parker's and if she still had it. Grandma Precious, went downstairs and brought it up, still wrapped in it's Target bag. We opened the bag, pulled out the shirt and held it up to look at it. So stinkin' cute! We decided to take it home and save it for the next little one we have. We decided, boy or girl, they will wear it.
It was a great great Christmas with our Harmon family. There wasn't one single sad thought in sight for us. No "poor us" feelings at all. It was a night full of happiness, laughter and good times had by everyone there. I praise the Lord for a good Christmas with our Harmon family.
That night, Geoff and I opened our presents to each other, then packed up and got ready for our trip to Yakima.
At 11:00am we ventured out on the highway and headed to Yakima to be with our Russell family. We drove over icy roads, through snow showers and zero visibility and finally arrived safe and sound in Yakima. We were greeted by our 4 year old niece Kate, jumping off my mom's lap and squeezing us tight, what a wonderful welcoming. That night, Christmas Eve night, Geoff, myself, mom, dad, Keri and Robby, played a rousing game of Pit, laughed until we cried and were just plain loud. It was a classic Russell family gathering, complete with lots of food, fun and laughter. Geoff and I played with our nieces, 4 year old Kate and 14 month old Annie. We giggled with them, tickled them and loved on them like any other good aunt and uncle. We were so thrilled to be there. At about 11:00pm we all crawled into bed and fell fast asleep.
The next morning, Christmas morning, I got up at around 7:00am, went into the living room and drank some coffee with my big brother Robby and my dad (one of my favorite things to do with them). We sat in the warm living room, I marveled at the tree and all the gifts, and giggled with Annie bell. At about 8:15am Brad and Sarah arrived to open presents with us. We ripped through each and every gift, filling mom and dad's living room with the torn remnants of wrapping paper. Gift after gift was opened. Ooo's and Ah's were heard all around. It was a great morning.
About halfway through the opening of the gifts, mom was handed three tiny boxes wrapped in red and white gift wrap. Each box was for mom. One was from Kate, one from Annie and the last one was from Parker. It was a gift that Keri and I had spoken about shortly after Thanksgiving. This was mom's Grandma necklace. Inside each of the boxes held the child's birthstone. It was precious. We all cried a little as mom opened each box. It was absolutely beautiful. Then following the opening of these three boxes, mom opened the gift from Geoff and I.
Shortly after Parker died, I decided I wanted to get my mom and mother-in-law the same necklace that I have, with one minor difference. Instead of having just Parker's name on it, I wanted all of their grandkids name's on them. So Geoff and I got Vanessa a necklace that has Natalie, Nathan and Parker's name tags on it as well as a pearl, and for my mom we got her a necklace that has Kate, Annie and Parker's name tags on it with a pearl. Both mom's loved the gift. It's something that Geoff and I cherish them having as well.
Christmas has been wonderful for Geoff and I. We have cherished everyone blessed moment with our families. We made an effort this year to make sure that Christmas was a joyous time. We didn't want to allow it to get eaten up in sadness.
I have always considered myself to be a "Glass totally full" kind of girl, and I wanted to hold true to that this Christmas. Geoff and I wanted to make sure that we didn't bury our emotions, but at the same time we wanted to make sure that our emotions didn't bury us. We wanted to experience the joys of Christmas that we have every single Christmas of our lives. We wanted to fully experience the joy of being around family. The joy of Christmas morning. The joy of giving and receiving. Ultimately, we wanted to be free of all sadness and grief, so that we could allow the true joy, the true joyful message of Christmas to resonate within us. We wanted to allow for the BIRTH of our Lord Jesus to be something that we didn't think about with pain, but rather with joy in our hearts, because that is what Christmas has, and always will be about for us, no matter what season of life we are going through.
Yes, we miss Parker, everyday we miss him and think about him But do we dread life even without him here? No. Do we dread the holidays since his death? No, not anymore. We look forward to more children, who will grow up knowing all about their big brother, Parker Geofferson Harmon and who will also grow up knowing the joy that, because Jesus came to this earth, they will some day get to meet their big brother face to face...
PRAISE THE LORD!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
- Kirkland, Washington, United States
- I am a child of God. I am a follower of Jesus. I am a wife, momma, daughter, sister and friend. I love good conversation and hearty laughter. A good cup of coffee is always appreciated. Most of all, I desire to bring others into an experience with Jesus. One that will shape their lives and rock their souls for Him. Geoff is my best friend and amazing husband. Parker is my handsome boy who lives in Heaven. Norah is my bright star and bringer of joy. Tori is my overcomer and peaceful warrior. I live to show Jesus' love to each person He places in my path. I pray this blog strengthens you, comforts you and encourages you and that it MOST OF ALL causes you to want to get to know Jesus in a deeper level.