The Christmas Story

For Christmas, Lance and I got the boys nerf guns. We thought it’d be a fun thing for them to do in the winter months.

After we opened presents, we were all sitting around chatting and we started an impromptu nerf gun war.

It was fun.

For those few minutes I felt freely happy.

Not “put a smile on my face.”

Not hyphenated happy.

Freely happy.

Then I got shot in the eye.

As I laid there holding my eye, I thought, I’m not allowed to be freely happy anymore. That part of my life is obviously done.

If I feel freely happy then it’ll cause physical pain, mental pain, or emotional pain. It’s just not in the cards for me.

I was thinking about it more as I sat in the ER with my mom. Then throughout the rest of the day.

At the end of the night, the seven of us made goals of service and love that we can do throughout this year.

This is mine: to be freely happy with my family.

It’s not an easy goal because if I’m trying, then it’s putting a smile on my face.

Instead, I’m going to try in live in the moment more.

I’m going to put myself in more situations with them that I can let go. That I won’t feel so hyphenated. If only for a few minutes.

I want my boys to have more than a hyphenated mom.

I’m realistic. I don’t think I’ll experience it daily or weekly or probably even monthly. But experiencing it five times in 2019 will be more times than I experienced it this year.

That’s a win.

That’s starting to live a Rory life-loving life.

Christmas Eve Story

My mom and I were talking about something new for me to read to my boys and nephews this Christmas Eve. I want something that not only acknowledges the grief but gives the boys an activity to include Rory in our celebration. So I wrote this:

A Brother’s Christmas Note

Time has ticked by.

Second by second.

I’ve waited and waited.

Sometimes patient, sometimes not.

But it’s here.

It’s finally here.

Christmas Day.

I run to the tree.

My eyes wide open.

I see my name on presents.

Picking one up, I give it a shake.

I dash to the fireplace.

Our stockings filled to the brim.

Except one.

I touch my sister’s.

She’s no longer here.

I leave hers hanging and take mine to the couch.

It’s not long before the rest of the family trickles in.

My brothers.

My mom.

My dad.

We sit in a circle,

Like we do every year.

Each opening a present.





We each pick our favorite,

And open it up.

I pick my new car.

On my knees, I race it across the room.

Zooming it into the fireplace.

I look up, one stocking still hangs.

Taking it down, I gaze around.

She can’t play with toys.

She can’t enjoy candy.

What can I put in her stocking?

I find a paper and pen to write a note.

“Baby Sister,

I will give mom a kiss for you.”

I place it in her stocking.

Happy, it’s no longer empty.

Dad followed me over,

“Can I see what you did?”

I nod and he reads.

With eyes filled with tears, Dad announces,

“Each of us will give service to your sister this year.”

Handing out more paper and pens.

We each write one down.

Giving love.

Giving care.

Her stocking is fuller than any of ours today.

She is our family’s angel.

We realize.

We know.

And this is our Christmas miracle:

She is here.

I can feel her

In each hug,

In each kiss.

She is a part of our family,

Part of our love,

And because of Jesus Christ,

Our love has no end.

Because of Jesus Christ,

We’ll be with her again.


Thank you for loving us. Caring for us. Praying for us.

I wish you all so much happiness and light.

I love you. We love you.

Merry Christmas. 💜

My Life is a Dichotomy

Xander has been taking a ballroom dancing class the last few months and Saturday he performed.

His class was one of the last to perform.

As the other classes performed, I just tried to stay in control.

The last recital I went to was Rory’s. She performed two Christmas numbers.

As these sweet little girls performed their little hearts out, I missed my Rory.

Then Xander got up. He pushed past his fear. He had learned a lot.

And he did an amazing job!

I bawled!

I was so dang proud of him.

It feels like my life will never be whole. It will always be torn.

In one moment I’m feeling happiness and pride in my son. While feeling sadness and longing for her.

I don’t know if that will change.

But I’m grateful for every memory of her.

I’m grateful for my life even though it still ends a lot with tears.