Sunday, January 2, 2011

Empty stockings

It is bitter cold outside and the ground is still covered with snow from a small storm that blew through here earlier this week. A typical New England winter's day. We are rushing around in an attempt to prepare for Christmas, which is tomorrow. I've told the girls that we need to bring Abbey's stocking to her. It's a small red stocking, which will remain empty save for a small bag of coins to weigh it down.

Allie has asked me if we can bring a blankie to Abbey so that she can stay warm. The perception of a three year old can be absolutely heartbreaking. Afternoon has arrived so we all bundle up and drive over to visit Abbey. We pass three teenage boys tromping through the Little Angels section of the cemetery on their way to the small frozen-looking pond that no doubt is supposed to provide tranquility not a play area. "How stupid," I mutter under my breath. If those boys understood the sadness and heartache under their feet, they wouldn't be there.

Allie and Em follow the path made by others through the snow to where their big sister sleeps forever. We don't even need to lead them there. They know the way. Anna needs help walking through the snow. A chilly wind blows around us and Allie complains that she is cold. She has also refused to allow us to zip or button up her coat.

I survey the collection of mementos lined up behind the headstone. A reminder as to why her stocking remains empty. I cannot bear having to watch another item succomb to the elements.

As Rich helps Emily place the stocking against Abbey's headstone, I can't help but wonder what she would have wanted for Christmas. Would there been that much of a difference between her and her sisters? Allie announces that she is too cold and heads off for the van so I ask Anna and Emily to quickly say Merry Christmas to their sister. There is an engraving of an angel baby on the headstone and Em waves to it as she wishes her sister a Merry Christmas. She tells us that she wants to kiss her and leans over to kiss the angel baby.


and you asked me what I want this year
and I'll try to make this kind and clear
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
'cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
designer love and empty things
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

i need someplace simple where we could live
and something only you could give
and that's faith and trust and peace while we're alive
and the one poor child who saved this world
there's 10 million more who probably could
if we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

so take these words
and sing out loud
'cause everyone's forgiven now
tonight's the night the world begins again

i wish everyone was loved tonight
and somehow stop this endless fight
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days.


There are six stockings hanging on our mantle. Three have the letter A on them. The girls' Aunt Joan came over a few weekends ago so that Rich and I could go out for a quick lunch sans munchkins. She emailed us the next day to say that the girls had shown her Abbey's stocking. They told her how Abbey was their friend. In her email, Joan included a link to a heartbreaking article she had read on that morning. I don't want to copy and paste as Rich has already done so. You can click here to read it.


Lyrics by John Rzeznik
Better Days performed by the Goo Goo Dolls
Credit where credit is due.


Anonymous said...

We have a little stocking for Caitlin that my mom sent the girls when I was pregnant - doesn't have her name, just "A" because my mom sent me A, B & C.So I'm sorry, I know it sucks.

I read the article on Rich's blog; our funeral home didn't charge us anything for the cremation either, and in a weird way I was very happy. Not that I wouldn't have paid it, but to have the only money I ever spent on her to be for her funeral would have made me angry. Weird how such random things can have an impact.

Chantel said...

Curtis' funeral was at a very reduced rate, my inlaws paid for it, but I remember the man saying they didn't charge beyond cost for babies.

I loved the pictures...I am so thrilled to hear the girls speak about their friend, Abbey.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written.
Love, Grammy

Wendy said...

Just telling you I love you.

Jamie said...

You are an amazing mama, I know Abbey is so proud of you.


Anonymous said...

i agree with very well written. i applaud you on instilling so much respect into your trio towards abigail (not sure if i worded that correctly)

Tracy said...

My brother and sister in law have two empty stockings for their twins (Taylor and Hayden) who lived just long enough for their momma to hold them and have them baptize.

You did a great job with this post.

Meg S :) said...

I never know what to say when you talk about Abbey. I'm so glad that you do, and it's so very touching the way your girls love their sister. I just always want to reach through my computer and give you the longest biggest hug ever (as IF that would help, but still). I wish I could change so many things for so many people...

Hugs. And prayers, to you all. <3

Hope's Mama said...

I wonder if Angus will one day know the way to Hope's grave. I'm sure he sadly will.
Lovely post. You know how much I love to read about your darling Abbey.