I am grateful to be leaving for Paris this afternoon, to have the means to do so, and to have a family who understands my choice, even if it makes them sad. When we first made the decision to go, I was torn about it. Our departure day is here, and while I feel some regret that I will not be with my family opening presents tomorrow, I know that we absolutely made the right decision. Although this trip doesn’t magically turn Christmas into “just another day,” I’ve at least been able to avoid spending this entire week filled with dread and sorrow in anticipation of a Christmas celebration without Hudson. Tomorrow will still be sad—how could it not be? But it will be sad in a different way, I hope, than just biting my lip and staring into the giant hole where Hudson should be with her cousins on Christmas morning. I hope.
And that’s my 30 Days of Thanks.
It’s hard to know how to wrap up this 30-day exercise. Like so much of the time since Hudson died, these past 30 days seem to have both crawled and flown by (but honestly, they have mostly crawled). I began my 30 Days of Thanks in search of healing during what I knew would be an incredibly difficult time. This time has been even more difficult than I thought it would be (despite the time and energy I spent trying to “prepare” myself), but deliberately engaging in exercises in gratitude has been tremendously helpful. It has not been easy to find something to be grateful for every day, for which I feel a little bit ashamed. Having lost my child, there are many days where it is so much easier to focus on all that is missing from our lives—indeed, there are many days where it is difficult to see much else. Which is exactly why I gave myself this assignment. Because I know that even though our loss is immeasurable, irreparable, and still unimaginable, I also know that we remain so incredibly fortunate in so many ways. Primary among them is that we got to have Hudson in our lives at all—even though we were allowed far too short a time with her, I would not trade a single second of that time to be rid of this pain. It is the deep and abiding joy we experienced with Hudson and the deep and abiding love that we felt for her that make this grief so very excruciating. But there’s still my joy. There’s still my joy.
I can’t wrap up this exercise, done during the time for giving thanks and celebrating family, friends, and love, without saying again how grateful we are for all the love, support, and friendship that we have received from so many people all over the world, known and unknown to us. You have sustained us in every way, picked us up over and over when we have fallen in our grief, and most importantly, helped us keep our precious girl’s memory, spirit, and light alive in the world that she loved so much. For every person who has ever read an entry here, who has ever left a comment or sent us a message or gift of any kind, who has ever thought of us or of Hudson even in a passing moment, who has kept Hudson alive in their hearts or in other ways, for each and every one of you, I am grateful. I think I said long ago that I needed a new word for “grateful,” but I hope that it adequately conveys how I feel. Because of you, I am alive. Because of you, I have survived what seemed unsurvivable. Because of you, Hudson’s sweet spirit will live on forever.
Thank you. And Happy Holidays.