Christmas and New Beginnings

By Molly Bice-Jackson - 9:40 PM



Well...

We made it.

Our first Christmas without our sweet Lucy. I'm not sure how we did it. Somehow I didn't break into a million pieces. Somehow I kept breathing. Somehow I was still excited and anxious to give my husband his gifts and see my nieces and nephews open theirs. I was still salivating over my mom's traditional lamb and cous-cous dinner. I still enjoyed sitting by our cozy fire watching Vic discover the little treasures I placed in his stocking. I still marveled at the sight of our 10 1/2 foot Christmas tree, the snow falling outside, safe and warm inside with loved ones.

I think there were legions praying for us. Don't you? I think you were one of them. I think you gave me the greatest gift I could have been given.

Peace.

Christmas morning itself was kind of a blur. One of my favorite gifts from Vic (which I knew he purchased back in October when we went to New England and visited the lighthouse in Maine...but had FORGOTTEN about), was a little pewter thimble. One of the many thoughtful gifts given to us on Lucy's birthday by Kristen Gardner had a small thimble tied to the top of the package. In Lucy's world, in the world of Peter Pan, a thimble is a kiss. When we saw that thimble our eyes got wet and we both agreed we wanted to start collecting thimbles. What made the thimble from Vic especially meaningful Christmas morning was the note accompanying it:

"Mommy, This is so you'll remember when I kissed you at the edge of the sea. Daddy and I love you very, very much. " Love, Daddy and Lucy

That's when I started "flailing", as I heard Vic describe it last night. Crying and aching and mentally flailing about trying to make sense of it all. From the outside it just looks like tears, a lot of them, but from the inside it's a million different things. Mostly overshadowed by the domineering unwanted guest HURT, but layered with so many emotions and questions.


My entire family (sans brother Bice and his wife-beauty Marie) spent Christmas at our house in Park City this year. Park City is a magical place to be for the holidays. Mountains covered in snow, skiers practically out our back window (we can see the Canyons Ski Resort from our top floor), smoke filled chimneys, Christmas lights...it's beautiful. Between the beauty and the chaos of a house full of people, we were encased in a safety net of sorts. Perhaps it was a mental state of self preservation, perhaps it was like I said, a miracle of countless answered prayers for peace being poured upon us, but we were able to enjoy a sacred holiday apart from our deceased daughter and still find joy and purpose. We may have had a little bit of fun thrown in there too.

Also...who sends thoughtful, amazing, beautiful, time-consuming gifts to strangers? Some of my blog readers do.

And I love them. (The gifts and the people).

THANK YOU.

Uncle Vic and Jack

Somebody named Jack Larson loves Uncle Vic.

My beautiful niece, Jada Pearl Bice.
I mean...really? She's gorgeous.

My sister, Amy, her Jackaroo and hubby Chad.


My brother, Taylor, feasting on Christmas Dinner.


New Year's Eve was spent with our dear friends Dan and Darci and Kit and Kate Norris. Vic and I knew Kate from our courting days in Los Angeles and were thrilled when we discovered she is living just a few hundred yards from us. Darci cooked a delicious meal (as she always does) and she and Danny thoroughly entertained us with some "couples games" they recently learned on a cruise they just returned home from. Now...I don't know what kind of cruise it was, but these games were a hoot and almost bordered on inappropriate. Which is, of course, what made them so very delightful. We spent plenty of time laughing and stuffing our faces with Martinelli's and junk food.

But when that ball dropped, when Dick Clark ushered in 2009 with his sweet, post-stroke shaky voice...I kind of lost it. Yes, 2008 could well be described as the hardest year of my life (please tell me it was and will be the hardest year I will ever have), but 2008 was the year that Lucy was still here. 2009 symbolizes a moving on, a moving forward, a letting go that I am not quite ready to do. In one sense, the more time moves away from 2008, the further away I feel from Lucy. The more time has passed from when I last saw her, last held her and chased her down the hall to brush through her tangly curls. In another sense, the further away I move from 2008, the closer I get to Lucy. One year closer. One year closer to that great reunion. Someday I will look back and wonder how I made it 10 years...15 years...25 years.

Last year, my friend Emily and I decided on the theme, "2008 is gonna be great." It almost makes me cry just thinking about it. I mean, just look at how many exclamation points I used in last year's "New Years" blog post. The emotion granting the use of an exclamation point has not even entered my body for the last seven months, let alone made it's way to paper. (Unless we count anger). Emily...well, she went through a divorce and I lost my only child. Wow. Not exactly what we had in mind.

I'm opting for a more realistic approach this year:
2009 is gonna be fine.
(Just fine. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing spectacular. We'll make it through. It will be fine).

It did feel very special to be pregnant during Christmas. I couldn't help but think of Mary and the song "Breath of Heaven"...hold me together. Be forever near me. I am getting excited to meet our little boy, Peter.

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43 Loving Lines

  1. I'm glad you posted today because, for some reason, I thought of you today. Thought about how I hadn't read anything new on your blog in a while and hoped you were ok.

    You're ok. You're just where you should be.

    I will continue to always pray for you and Vic.

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  2. I, a stranger, yet feel a deep sense of love and admiration for you and your family, just had to tell you.. I've been praying for you through this holiday season,(as I'm certain many others have as well)... praying that you will be granted the strength, faith, gestures, acts of kindness, love, patience, comfort and joy as you should need them. I've anxiously awaited to read your post following the holidays - and as each day went without a post, the more I prayed for you and yours. I'm grateful to see that you were granted all that you stood in need of to get through another round of "firsts". You inspire me beyond your knowledge. Thanks for continuing to share your days with all of us... strangers or not... BLESS YOU! Thank you... May the Lord see that you always have all that you are in need of ~ when you need it.
    Happy New Year....Blessed New Year...

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  3. Fine in '09 sounds just right.

    I'm glad you were able to enjoy being with so many of your extended family members at Christmas time. I'm also glad you were able to feel the prayers of so many, along with the peace they bring.

    Life is a remarkable journey, isn't it? And you are absolutely right. You Jacksons are going to be fine.

    (And, some days, fantastic.)

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  4. Happy New Year Molly and Vic!! I did pray for you to have peace ...I thought of you often, and checked your blog for updates. I hope this year continues to bring you peace, may you both always feel that your Lucy is near, and that many people are praying for you!

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  5. Thank you for the photos and sharing your thoughts on Christmas & the New Year. I am so glad you had your sweet family with you in your happy Park City nest and that you laughed in the New Year with great friends.

    Even though it doesn't *seem* like 2008 was that 'great' as you had planned, perhaps someday it will feel like a golden year.

    My most tender and cherished years are the ones where I was dealt cards I didn't expect and felt a more intense love from family, friends, and Heavenly Father because of my pleadings.

    You and Vic have been on the receiving end of some serious love and have shown the world what it means to love, say goodbye, and continue with a new kind of life and BEing.

    You have given the WORLD a 'great 2008' through your examples of faith, your testimonies of eternal life, and your willingness to share yourSELVES with all of us who watch along the sidelines with anxious hearts.

    I love you. I ache for you. I wonder how you do it and then I remember the tall word that was placed on your 'Lucy table' when I visited last summer: HOPE.

    That is how you do it, that is how we all do it. That is how 2008 was 'great' in it's own unexpected way and that is how 2009 will provide all the fine-ness that you wish for.

    BIG hugs to you.

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  6. I am so happy to hear that you had a peaceful Christmas. What you said is true....each day does bring you further away, but it also brings you closer to that great reunion. 10...15...25 years; it seems like a long time, but here I am in my 18th year and I can testify that it is possible.

    PS I have cemetery pictures on my blog today also.

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  7. Isn't the power of prayer a miracle. As a family we prayed for your family and Lucy. As the snow fell, I prayed. As the sun was shining, I prayed. As I sat with the kids reading the story of Christ's birth, I prayed. I am so happy to hear you enjoyed your holiday surrounded by family & friends. Your angel, Lucy, was there too! Continued prayers and love! -eden

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  8. I think I need my own thimble collection. Wet cheeks over here thinking about Lucy's thimbles.

    Hope baby Peter brings one tucked in his small fist, straight from Lucy's lips.

    xox

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  9. I am really happy you had a good Christmas. Thank you for being so inspiring.


    Annalisa

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  10. Hi Smolls,
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Alfonso and I have kept you in our prayers and I'm so thankful to know that you have felt peace throughout the season. I love the picture of you by Lucy's grave. You are a beautiful woman with so much vibrance and wisdom. You gave Lucy her life and for that gift I am sure she is eternally grateful. Little Peter is receiving that same gift, I can't wait to meet him and watch him grow. Love you!

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  11. Excellent post Molly. Very touching. Seriously, it helped me to understand a little of what Christmas was like for you guys.

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  12. splindid recap... i have had you and your husband in my thoughts throughout the season- i am proud of you both for making it through together, and i appreciate your examples.
    and i am excited that you and i are both having boys this year. i, too, felt special being pregnant during the Christmas season- and i think it made Mary more real for me and what she may have been feeling.
    i hope the best for you and Vic this year.
    God Bless :)

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  13. I have been awaiting a post about your holidays! We pray for you often and especially did at this time of year.

    Hugs!

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  14. I'm glad that you felt some peace this Christmas. I have been praying for that, for you and Vic, as I know many other's have, too. I loved being pregnant at Christmas as well. Especially with my first, I had her 6 days after Christmas, so I was really ready, and loved the tenderness I felt for Mary, during that time. I hope that your 2009 will be more than fine. I am sure with your new little miracle, it will be better than fine, especially knowing Lucy's presence is just beyond the veil, where he is coming from. I understand you feeling like you are getting further away from Lucy. However, your memories of her, will hold you close, as the time to a reunion with her gets nearer. I hope that you will feel that. Happy New Year.

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  15. Oh Molly, I just love this whole post.

    Happy New Year!

    With tons of love,
    Julie

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  16. You are such a good writer. Every time I read your post I just sit here and sob. It is a good cleansing cry that helps me put things in perspective. You are a wonderful person.

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  17. I'm so happy to hear that you experienced some measure of peace and even joy over Christmas and that you were able to be surrounded by so many loving family members. I agree that Park City is a wonderful place to spend Christmas.

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  18. Dear Molly, I'm a stranger who has posted a comment once before and feel compelled to again. I am constantly amazed at the beautiful people in my life who love and support me through my trials. Reading this latest post and the post about your Christmas tree (many of your posts)only inceases my testimony that the Lord will be there through our trials. He helps us through them by surrounding us with special people who will comfort us, love us and support us in the way we need. Your heart is hurting in a way I can't begin to imagine, but I am so glad you are surrounded by such loving family, friends and ward family. You deserve nothing less. I also believe that through this blog and your special gift to eloquently and openly share your intimate feelings, you are one of those special people who help many through our trials with out knowing. You give have given so many comfort, perspective and peace. Thank you and may you and your loved ones continue to be blessed with a little more comfort and peace each day.

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  19. I am a friend of Mindy & Mike Lilyquist, and I learned of you and your family through her pleading for all of our prayers for you, Vic, and sweet Lucy. Thank you for making your blog "open" so that I can read it, follow your heartache, and learn from your journey. I always feel such a tremendously strong Spirit whenever I read your's and Vic's thoughts, insights, and simply your story. Thank you for being true to your feelings of sadness, joy, perhaps some anger, and your spirituality (your commitment to and acknowledgment of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ) in such an everyday manner. You make it tangible, and yet knowing it means you/we have to reach higher for it. I wonder how many lives the three of you have touched and changed through such a heartbreaking experience. I cannot wait to see the amazing soul coming into your lives - Peter - who clearly will have a healing presence about him. I do not mean to sound trite when I say simply, thank you...

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  20. so sweet and beautiful.... your thoughts and spirit and love for your daughter.... and your baby boy's name also....

    can I share something with you... about my daughter (4 years old) who has recently told me about seeing her older sister (whom she has never met, she would be 9 years old on Jan. 12) I will email you the small story that I shared, but it makes me think of you also, and of your son who knows your daughter, and can I'm sure in the future share some special tidbits with you from Lucy....

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  21. I am so happy to hear you "made it" through the holidays. The power of prayer is an amazing thing. You and Vic were most certainly in mine.

    I have a deep regret that I didn't get to meet up with you. Hopefully someday soon...

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  22. Dear Molly,
    I, too, have been thinking of you and Vic during this Christmas Season. I relate to so many of the emotions you so aptly express, and find that despite our differing circumstances, the light of truth in what you say reflects brilliantly upon my own facets of loss. Thank you for all you say and do. This past weekend was the 17th anniversay of my mother's passing, and I find myself in a postion to feel some of what you wondered about in this posting. If you would like, I would love to share my most recent blog post with you ("Perhaps It Was Actually a Good Day"): http://onethousandotonos.blogspot.com/ (particularly the opening and closing paragraphs). Time, as you well know does not always heal us exactly the way we would so love it to, but it does allow for humble learning and subsequent changes in perspective from time to time.

    I think of you fondly and often, my beautiful friend.

    Love,
    Autumn (Haeberle) Mulverhill

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  23. I am so happy to hear that you had some peace and happiness through the holidays. I was most certainly praying for you daily...and possibly even a few times through out the day:) Thanks for your nice comment on my blog and I would LOVE to meet you!

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  24. Am I going crazy or did you add a couple of things to this post? (I liked it so much I was reading the whole thing all over again and discovered some "new" material...)

    This is not a rhetorical question, by the way. I really do want to know. (At 50+, it gives me a strangely comforting sense of control to track my cognitive demise as brain cells disappear, one by one, into the sunset...)

    =)

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  25. Thanks, thanks, and thanks again for your reassuring comment on my blog. I feel almost as if you've saved me from premature senile dementia...!

    By the way, you are a favorite of mine as well, and so is the story about the thimble, which I am very glad you added. (Not surprisingly, you are a wise and fortunate woman in your choice of husbands.)

    =)

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  26. Happy New Year Miss Molly, Vic and the baby!!!

    As I said before, you are always on my mind but during the holidays, I knew it would abit harder so I was so eager to go to Christmas mass just so I can make my prayer for you. For you and Vic and Lucy.
    Miss Molly, I also have to tell you that you are the strongest person I ever come to know in a spiritual sense. You are dealing with this great loss but you have such grace, such resolution that it is truly inspiring. I am in awe of you. I just needed to tell you that.
    Oceans of love, millions of kisses.

    In faith,
    Djuna

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  27. Hey Smally-
    I love reading your posts. You were witty and wise as you welcomed in 2008, but this year has given you wisdom and insight that I am in awe of, and (selfishly) hope I never have to learn for myself.
    Thank you for turning your grief into an opportunity for so many people who love you to learn from you. You have inspired me through your tragedy.
    Here's hoping for a fine 2009 (with scattered moments of unbelievable job and elation).
    I love you Sister!
    karyn~
    *** So great to see the pics of the clan. I sure do love me some Bice family!

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  28. Mols- I Loved this post. I'm glad your christmas was filled will peace, joy, and laughter. Looks like you guys had a great time during the holidays. YOu deserve it. You look so good in that last picture. I don't know what your mid-wife is talkin about.
    LOVE YOU GIRL!!!!!

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  29. Molly,

    I just love to read the messages you and your hubby write about life, and the experiences you are experiencing. You both are truly inspiring and talented writers. What a year you have had. Your openness and honesty has undoubtedly touched many hearts, including mine. My husband and I lost our third pregnancy last month, since having our daughter Michelle four years ago. After reading your recent posts I thought you may be interested in a quote that was shared with me just after losing the baby. I think Vic refers to hearing something similiar to this in his Thanksgiving post. "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

    --Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come What May, and Love It", Ensign, Nov 2008, 26–28

    Take care,

    Fawsie

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  30. More beautiful than words can express.

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  31. I guess you could consider me one of your blog stalkers, but I just want you to know what a sense of strength & deep appreciation you have given to countless people. You are an AMAZING person & I wish you the best in 2009!

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  32. Lovely post and lots of wisdom, Molly. I read this poem today and thought of you. Hope you don't mind. It's by Aeschylus.

    'Even in our sleep, pain which we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'

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  33. I'm so glad you made it through the holidays and felt some peace. I think 2009 will be fine for you for sure. I can't wait to meet little Peter. I love you both.

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  34. Molly,
    You write the most beautiful words, I always cry for You and Vic when I read your blog, so very touching your words are ... May 2009 be a very peaceful year for you guys....

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  35. Molly I just wanted to say that I love you so much. You're are beautiful in every way.

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  36. I am so glad your Christmas was good. I think about you guys often, and wonder how you are doing. I am sure the name Peter is no coincidence for your coming son, and I love it. Lucy must be getting him ready to come, and sharing her sisterly advice all the time. Happy New Year, and I hope 2009 is just fine, and maybe even a little more.
    Love nic

    ps- I have to say I am jealous of your Park City Christmas. That sounds divine.

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  37. Molly, I found you through Megan and Ryan (Ry is my brother). After reading about the symbolism of the thimble for you guys, I saw this and had to show it to you - http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=18934653.

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  38. Molly,

    I found your blog through a couple of my friends. Your story has touched my life and although I don't have any children yet, your love for Lucy and your new little one has completely captivated me. We don't live in Utah anymore, but Park City has been our Thanksgiving destination for about 8 years. The Egyptian Theater is one of my favorites...and my family actually made it to Peter Pan. Where you did a phenomenal job! I used to act but took the teacher route...and MISS IT (the acting)! You are inspiring. I will be among the legions praying for your continued happiness. Thanks for letting me peek in on your life!

    Ally

    kevinandally.blogspot.com

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  39. You guys just make me cry. Your words are like poetry, truly. It is miraculous how you are able to say in words what you are feeling...so much so that I actually feel some of it. I don't know how you guys are doing it. I don't know how...but I do believe you are.

    Thanks for the fun night out. It really did manage to be a bit more light hearted than it might have been...who wanted to be in that "stuffy place anyway" :). It wasn't the perfect date, but it was a nice time away with you guys. And now I can't stop thinking about the bread and dip at Cucino's. THANKS ALOT!

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday. And that you aren't working yourselves into the ground.

    Love you guys!

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  40. Hi there, you don't know me, I found your blog via blog hopping. i just wanted to say I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I had a little boy Logan who passed away from a congenital heart defect and vein disease in December 2006. I can't say i know exactly how you feel because I think every ones trials are different.I can say I know what it is like to lose a child though. My heart aches for you guys! I am happy to hear you are having another one. I got pregnant with my baby a month after my son passed away. it was the best thing I could have done for myself. He is the best thing I have done and helps me everyday even now get through the hard endless days! I am a professional photographer in utah county and have shared my story on my blog if you would like to read it you can. it's shannamichellephotography.blogspot.com it 's titled remembering Logan. I would love to take your new babies pictures in my sons memory! i know he's not sick or has any problems, but I want to do it for you! email me if interested. I love in Orem. shannaleroy@hotmail.com

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  41. I WAS praying and thinking alot for you! Isn´t it wonderful to have the gospel and the wonderful organization of Relief Society in our lives, so that all around the world we can know and love each other! I´m sure this year will be a wonderful year for you, where you can enjoy with Peter all over again! Lots of love from Spain!

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  42. Vic and Molly:
    It was so wonderful to meet you on friday. I was deeply touched by all you shared. Thank you for letting me get a glimpse of what your sweet Lucy was like. I think both of you are amzing and I feel honored to have gotten to spend some time with both of you. I hope that we will get the chance to do it again soon.
    Love,
    Andrea
    Wyatt's mommy

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  43. My thoughts were with you this past Christmas--as were my prayers.

    I hug my little girls a little longer because of your story. You amaze me in your inspiring way you share your lives.

    I don't know if this would interest you at all, or if you are attached for sentimental reasons to your blog layout, but I would be so happy to do a little makeover for you guys. With your long posts, it might be nice to change the layout so you don't have to scroll down so long. Anyways, just an offer...I'm a loyal blog stalker at any rate! (if you are interested, just leave me a comment on my blog with your email address and we'll go from there.)

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