Your Stories

The Holidays Minus 2

I wanted to share a small tradition that I had started when my youngest of 4 children passed away at 2 days old. December of 1991 I gave birth to identical twin boys when I was only 27 weeks pregnant. Needless to say they were very small and had a very low life expectancy. Miraculously the elder of the two boys Kyle survived and I am proud to say is a happy and healthy 20 year old as of December 17, 2011. Kristopher however was too ill to survive and passed away on December 19, 1991. That Christmas was a bit of a blur as we were grieving the loss of Kristopher while continuing to hope and pray that Kyle would survive, which he did!

The following Christmas I was out shopping with a couple of girlfriends and we stopped into a Christmas store at the Forks. I was just window shopping as our tree was up and money was a little tight to spend on decorations. However, I came across the cutest little Christmas ornament of a baby in a snowsuit hanging onto an icicle. This was my first time seeing a “snow baby”. I was immediately drawn to the ornament as it reminded me of Kristopher. There were a lot of ornaments to choose from but, from the moment I saw this particular one, I knew I had to buy it. I did have a little buyer apprehension as it was definitely more expensive than any other ornament I had ever purchased but somehow this ornament just seemed to comfort me. It’s hard to explain that something as little as a Christmas decoration gave me a sense of peace and made me smile.

That was the beginning of my 19 years of buying ‘snow baby ‘ornaments every Christmas. Each year if the kids were not with me to buy it, they would ask “when are you getting your snow baby” because somehow, once the ornament was bought and put on the tree, it felt like Christmas.

In March of 2010 my family had another tragedy to bear when my 23 year old eldest daughter Karalee passed away due to cancer. Christmas was always a special time for all of my children but Karalee loved everything about it. She was always the one to help me put up the tree and decorate or would be baking up a storm to make sure we had enough dainties to put out for friends and family. The Christmas after she passed I didn’t want to even think about buying a tree ornament let alone put up a tree and decorate. However, I was out shopping with my daughter Kelsey and son Kyle when we stopped into a gift shop trying to find my snow baby and a little Christmas spirit. What I did find was a 2010 white porcelain snowflake that had scripted on it “there’s only one you ... beautiful you”. The moment I saw this ornament I started to tear up. I knew that I had to have it to put on my tree in memory of Karalee. In fact, the moment was so profound for me that, as I am writing this and kind of reliving that moment, I find myself reaching for the tissue as I am flooded with emotion. Meanwhile back in the store Kelsey and Kyle looked at me like “really Mom're crying over an ornament”.

Well now I have my snow babies for Kristopher and this year bought a dancing angel for Karalee (she loved dancing and it reminded me of her). Believe me I would give anything to have a bare tree with no memory ornaments, however that was not to be. My Christmas tree decorations do make me feel good and I look on each ornament with a smile as I lovingly place them on our tree.

I find my little tradition at Christmas has actually given me something to look forward to during the holiday season. Finding the right ornament in memory of Karalee and Kristopher is for me very much a part of my grieving and healing process. I am very proud of my beautiful Christmas tree and reflect on each ornament as they remind me of my children who will be spending all of their Christmases in heaven.

By: Kim