My mother gave me a ticket for tonight’s Christmas Sing Along with the Symphony. This was her second year to sing with the choir and she was so excited. I was happy to go, excited about singing some old favorites and who knows, maybe it would help my Christmas spirit.
The music was wonderful and the atmosphere inspiring. There were people of all ages singing, laughing. When the orchestra began to play “Frosty the Snowman” a person dressed as a Snowman came out into the audience.
The kids went nuts, rushing down the isles to see him and parents were snapping pictures like crazy people, and then it hit me. It hit me that Cooper would be 3 1/2 years old at this very moment, just like the little ones clamoring to meet Frosty, just like the little boy sitting behind me saying “look mommy!”
My throat started to get that hard to swallow feeling and the silent tears began to fall. I was never more thankful to move on to the next song, to see Frosty exit, and the children to return to their seats. During the next few numbers I was able to pull it together and enjoy the music – 12 Days of Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, a reading of The Night Before Christmas, Silent Night.
Oh, Silent Night and here come the tears. I just can’t control it. I have no control over my emotions and I fear I will not be able to sit through Silent Night anytime soon. It’s not that I in any way compare my son to baby Jesus, it’s just the soft, somber, reflective tone of the hymn and the first verse which stirs me up. Even as I type, my eyes well up. Again.
Silent night, holy night
All is calm and all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
At this moment, it reminds me of Cooper’s passing and not the birth of Jesus. It scares me that I felt like I had pulled myself together for awhile and now, suddenly, it feels as if I’m falling apart all over again.
This would be the point where I reason with myself and try to balance my emotions with logic. The reality, yes, Cooper would have been 3 1/2, but not like the other children who were running around tonight. Cooper could not walk, or talk, and he would not ever have had that ability. He had a progressive disease which would have gotten worse over time, not better.
Cooper died peacefully and I was ready to let him go. It was time, but that doesn’t make me miss him any less. It’s been one year, and I have to remind myself that it has ONLY been one year. There have been so many positive things that came from Cooper’s life. I try so hard to focus on the good stuff and most of the time I feel like I do a pretty good job of it. Tonight is just not one of those nights.
Last year my husband and I didn’t “do” Christmas. We did put up the tree and our stockings, but we didn’t go crazy with decorations. We didn’t buy gifts or even go to either of our families homes. Instead, we both took some time off and put together a puzzle of the beach because it reminded us of our last trip with Cooper. I’m sure it sounds lame, but it was what worked for us.
Christmas is a lot harder this year than I expected it to be. It’s hard to be out there finding a way to be okay everyday. It’s exhausting.
To read more about Cooper’s story, please visit www.coopersquest.org