A blog about the grief after losing a child to Niemann Pick, Type C, a rare disease, and how I'm moving forward with my life.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Trees

I grew up with an artificial ("fake") Christmas tree.  The living room had 20-25 foot ceilings, so we purchased an 8-10 foot tree.  We always had a good time decorating it and always laughed at stringing the lights. (If you don't laugh, you probably scream and cry!)

When I moved into my apartment I purchased a little 6 foot artificial tree.  I tried to have a bunch of friends over to decorate it and have a party.  I would sleep on the couch occassionally, with the lights from the tree as the only source of light.

When we moved into the house over 10 years ago, we set up my little 6 foot tree.  It just didn't seem right.  So hubby and I took off early one morning and found a real Christmas tree.  We had to tie it to the curtain rod because we could not get it to stand up straight!  We tried everything! Cutting the bottom in different directions, using levelers on the tree stand...it didn't matter...that tree was not going to stand up straight.

My step sons were surprised when they woke that morning to find a real tree and the four of us had a great day decorating it (and laughing because it wouldn't stay straight!)

We had real trees a few more years.  Sometimes it was just the two of us decorating, other times the boys would come over.  However, we could always count on the cat to help us (loose things!).

Then we moved again and Dan was born.  If it wasn't for my oldest step-son, we would not have had a Christmas tree.  You see, Dan was due between Christmas and New Years, but decided to make an appearance in early December - well before we had pulled out the Christmas decorations.  Since he was several weeks early, he had to stay in the NICU.  One Saturday morning as we were getting ready to head to the hospital, my step-son stops over and tells us he will decorate the house for Christmas for us, if we would tell him where everything was.

We came home from the hospital to a set up and lighted fake tree, hung stockings and random other Christmas items scattered throughout the house.  It was an absolutely wonderful present to us - and one less thing we had to think about.  Together we put ornaments on the tree and had some hot chocolate and enjoyed the company.

Soon thereafter we purchased a multi-colored pre-lit fake Christmas tree.  We didn't know how Dan would react to the tree, and we didn't want to risk him hurting himself on a real one (eating or poking himself with a pine needle or something else).

Since his birthday was in early December, I always wanted to make sure it wasn't lost in the hecticness of the holidays.  I would not permit our tree to go up (or any Christmas decorations displayed) until about a week after his birthday.

When we found out Dan's diagnosis, we decided that we were going to get a real tree for him last year for Christmas.  Let him enjoy the fresh pine smell, touch the prickly needles...everything.

Unfortunately, he never had a chance to experience it.  And we had no real desire to do anything Christmas-y.  So we pulled the pre-lit tree out of the bag and plugged it in.  Once.  No stockings, no nativity scene, no ornaments, no decorations.  I don't even think we wrapped Christmas presents last year.

So what about this year?  Truthfully, we haven't decided yet.  But I will let you know when I do!

Bloggers for Christmas

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