CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.

Celebrating Laynee

You might want to scroll to the bottom of this page and pause the music before playing this video.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Without Her

"It's the most wonderful time of the year,"  "It's the hap-happiest season of all,"  "....Holly Jolly Christmas, It's the best time of the year"   Those are the sounds that fill the air these days.  The radio, stores, the television,  everyone singing of glad tidings and good cheer.  Christmas is coming fast but I don't want to have Christmas without Jalayne.

I want to see her wide eyed wonder at all the beauty of Christmas.  I want to constantly say "No, No" as she goes for the bulbs and bows and lights on the trees.  I want to take her through the streets and point out all the beautiful, glittering lights;  red, green, blue, white and silver. The girls and I aren't especially fond of the big inflatable snowmen, reindeer, Santas and other characters that some choose to put in their yard, but we would show them to her because they would bring a smile to her lovely face. Perhaps that is why some people put out such decorations, for the simple fact that they bring smiles to small faces.    We would show her the figures of baby Jesus in the manger,  her little arms would cross in front of her and she would rock back and forth, her sign for baby.  She probably wouldn't fully grasp the meaning of the birth of our Saviour but she would know, because we would teach her, that there is something wondrous about this particular child, Jesus. 

I don't want to make Christmas cookies without her.   How she would love licking the batter off the beaters and smearing frosting on the cookies.  I can picture, in my mind's eye, her radiant smile as she's covered in flour with green and red frosting on her face and in her hair.  I need her help to wrap the presents, with crumpled paper, too long pieces of tape and scibbled name tags.  I don't want to do any of it without her.

On Tuesday of the past week,  at the preschool she attended two mornings a week, a Christmas program was held.  I've added some pictures  of how they chose to remember Laynee on this day.  I know that in spirit she was probably there, smiling down on all of her little friends.  I'm grateful for the way she was honored, but I so desperately wanted her to be singing with the others.  Today I have opted not to go to church because I know that the program to remember Christ's birth is to be held by all of the children.  I know also, that Laynee should be up there and somehow I know that she would steal the show.  But she won't be there.

Anyone who knows me, and has had the priviledge of spending much time with Moise and Jalayne, knows that I love hats. Winter hats are, of course, needed for keeping little ears warm, but they are also an expression of  personality.  I so enjoyed putting hats with balls and baubles on Moise as a small child, and then Jalayne. Somehow they made the long winters just a little more bearable.    I so long to see Laynee's round face and pink, rosy cheeks beneath the silly hats on these cold, dreary days.

Under my bed is a box containing a baby doll .  I had bought this baby early, before the fateful Sept 7,  for a Christmas gift for Laynee.  The baby has a pink dress with large buttons, zippers, snaps,  velcro and ties that would serve to develop Laynee's fine motor skills.  She would have loved that baby.  She would have carried it by it's neck or arm and probably would have thrown it to the bottom of the stairs from time to time.  Gentleness was not one of Laynee's finer traits, but nevertheless, she would love that baby.

 The girls and I so loved shopping for her and dressing her up.  We did go little girl shopping this year.  We shopped and picked out two Christmas outfits that we know she would have been beautiful in.  We chose a beautiful silver dress with sparkly sequins and a glittering silver sweater, perfect for standing up front in the programs.  Another oufit, cream leggings with lace at the bottom and a red and cream ruffled top, festive and warm for going to all of the Christmas gatherings.  Even though Laynee has no need for these things this year, for she's wearing something more glorious than the human eye can comprehend, we bought these special things for a special little girl.  Nebraska "Braska" Larae Woods is a precious little sweet heart who also has Down Syndrome and was born just a couple months before Laynee.   I met her mother, RK, on an online Down Syndrome Board and have the priviledge of reading about Braska's growth, silly ways, and joy through her blog.  Though Braska is her own unique, individual self, as I read about her and look at her pictures I'm remined so much of my own precious girl.   RK graciously agreed to our sending these clothing items for Braska to wear this Christmas.  I boxed up the items with a deep, aching sadness and eyes filled with tears for I wish that they didn't have to be sent away.  I wish that I could have ironed them and hung them in Laynee's closet, waiting for the special day she would wear them.  Yet, in some strange way, there was healing in this simple act.  Shopping was something tangible that we could do to remember Laynee and knowing that they will be worn, rather that hanging useless in the closet brings a sense of quietness to my heart.  And so.... to dear, precious Braska,  "MERRY CHRISMAS" sweet  little one.  I love your beautiful face, your beaming smile, the parts of you that don't work quite the same as other children, but most of all, I love the joy, peace and love that emanates from you and all that you teach those who love you.  You see, Braska I know that you teach valuable lessons by simply being.  I know this because you are so much like my Laynee.

We are going to be spending Christmas in Florida this year, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Glueck, who so wisely foresaw how painful the season would be for us.  My sister,Gail. and brother, Dale, along with their families will also be in different parts of Florida and will spend Christmas Day with us.  I am grateful for their willingness to do this and hope that fun in the sun with cousins will ease some of the pain for all of us.  Because we will be gone from the 22nd through the New Year, we decided not to put up all of the decorations this year.  We did, however, put a candle in each of the front windows.   Each time I leave or apprach our driveway and see the light in the windows I am reminded of Jalayne Grace Holmes and the love and light that she brought to our family, our hearts, our home.  I know that in time the lights in the window will grow dim or need to be replaced, but I pray that all the things she taught, the light she brought to our world will never burn out.  Despite the way that we long for her to be with us again, it cannot be.  However, if we allow it, if we choose not to let bitterness, anger, and confusion to reign over us, her legacy will shine forever in the hearts of all who were touched by her.


  1. Oh my... I just came over to add the Laynee's Story link and here was this beautiful post. Thank you, again. We are so blessed and humbled to have come to "know" you all, though I do wish we'd have been able to get together so the girls could have played. Oh how I wish...

    I read this to M and we both got all teary. It means so much for someone else to appreciate the special little things about our princess... and she LOVES the hat. Wears it every day now. Pictures soon!

  2. Karol,

    Each time I read your blog, it makes me thankful for all the good AND the bad that my children bring to my life. Sometimes we get stressed and frustrated with them, but reading how you just want to tell her "No No" again to touching the tree made me thankful that I still have my precious children in my life. We love you so much and still keep you in our prayers.

    Amy Gayle

  3. Karol,
    Several times I have thought about commenting, but stopped. My words seem so inadequate...nothing I say can make this better for you.

    But today, as I read your blog, and got your Christmas card in the mail I just wanted to let you guys know that we are thinking of you and praying for your family. I have such empathy for you all. On Tuesday it was 27 years since Matthew died. I am by no means comparing the level of grief I had as a child to the level of grief you have as a parent...just that in a small way I do understand what you are going through from watching my parents go through it. It seems like everyone forgets about you after the funeral and visitation, but know that it is simply not true. We still share your burden and pray continually for healing and peace. We love you all!
    Jon & Rebekah

  4. I just found your blog through my daughters blog. I am the nana to the ramer twins that went to be with Jesus on July 29/July 30. It was at my home that my precious grand babies drown. I DO know what you are going through and I will pray for you and I ask that you do the same for me. I know from my own experience how hard the grief process is. I too have so many questions. I do not understand what God's plan or purpose is, but I do know that He loves me and He is carrying me through this storm. I am NOT alone! I struggle every day with the realization that I could NOT save my grand babies. I am here for you if you need someone to talk to or cry with. Love in Christ...Terri Mikel