When Fiona died, I felt an indescribable dread and horror that our family was forever ruined. I came home from the hospital without my child, feeling an intense panic that left me curled up on the floor of the bathroom, shaking in shock. I felt that the things I cherished and enjoyed about being part of a family would now change; from warm, happy celebrations to days that had to be endured and gotten through. Fiona was born the day after Christmas; this month has been very difficult for us, and it’s hard to feel anything but sadness. I continue to go through the motions of what I have done year after year, but my heart is not in it. I hope my children can’t sense the depth of my sadness, and I hope and pray for peace and grace to get through our first holiday without Fiona. The one thing that gives me hope is knowing Jesus was born into this world so that we can be with him forever, and we will be with Fiona again and forever because of Jesus. That is the only reason for me to celebrate Christmas this year; and really should have been all along. We know the best gifts we’ve received were at Christmas time; Fiona’s life and Jesus’ birth.
Fiona loved celebrations, holidays, and birthdays more than any of our children. She loved to plan a party and do something special to celebrate everyone’s birthdays, grandparents included. She loved the traditions, decorating, treats, and getting and receiving gifts. On her sisters’ or cousins’ birthdays, she would watch them open each gift with attentiveness and excitement as if it was her own gift. She loved waking to find the trail of chocolate hearts I would put down from her bedroom, leading to a dining table decorated for Valentine’s Day. She made a leprechaun trap on St. Patrick’s Day last year, with chocolate coins as bait, and was thrilled to see them gone the next day. She believed in the tooth fairy, and wrote her a note once about being afraid of having cavities when she lost a tooth. She enjoyed the trail of clues Gampy would put in plastic eggs around his house, leading to beautiful Easter baskets lovingly created by Nanny. Fiona made a list of items to buy and prepare for Mother’s Day breakfast last year; she made sure with dad’s help that her plans were accomplished. Fiona’s last 4th of July was definitely our best; we celebrated at Clydehurst Christian Ranch with an awesome party, including hayride, swimming, carnival games, BBQ, and an awesome fireworks display. Halloween was one of her favorites because of the candy.
But Christmas she loved best, due to the magical quality, enormity and length of the celebration, followed by her birthday. She kind of expected to have a ton of presents, and she always had a long list of things she wanted, much more so than Maisie or Poppy. It is so strange to now buy gifts for only two children, attend only two Christmas concerts, and fill only two stockings. It’s unnatural to not be arranging playdates with her friends, or planning her birthday celebration, and to know I will not receive a gift from her, carefully made in secret at school. It is so strange not having her here to play with her sisters in the snow, go sledding, make Christmas cookies, decorate the tree, drive around to look at lights, attend Christmas eve service together, put out cookies and milk for Santa, and have a fancy Christmas dinner at Nanny’s house. Fiona so enjoyed all of it.
Fiona, you are so missed and loved. I hope you are celebrating something every day in heaven, and I hope there are lots of treats, parties and gifts. I wish I could write your name on a gift tag again, watch you open your presents, give you a hug, hear your sweet voice, and have fun keeping your innocent beliefs alive. Now you know for yourself which of those beliefs was actually the truth. I hope any gift I could give you doesn’t compare to the joy you are now experiencing in heaven.