Ask any parent to look at a family photo and pick one child to delete from the photo forever- they will look at you in disbelief and shake their head. It’s impossible to do. And no parent should ever have to.

A friend of mine recently asked me how it was making our family’s holiday card. I had actually been thinking a lot about this,  having just ordered our holiday cards and because I know there are many families struggling with this- especially those who have recently lost a child. A holiday card is suppose to capture images of a family, smiling, happy and functional. And there is the problem. Of course, our holiday card has a picture of our family. And yes- there are smiles, and perhaps we were even happy and functional when we took the pictures, but the pictures are incomplete. Ezra is missing.

Families have different ways of incorporating the children they have lost into photos. Some hold framed pictures, others wear specific significant colors. Our holiday cards will always have a heart rock somewhere on them.

The other day Daisy came home from school very concerned about something a friend had told her.

“Mama-my friend said she doesn’t believe in ANYTHING! Not Santa, and not the tooth fairy.”

I reminded her that people can believe lots of different things. I asked her what she believes. Her answer was simple.

“I believe in everything.”

I appreciate that despite all that Daisy has been through, she is still willing to believe.

Everywhere we go, we look for heart shaped rocks. Logically I know that these are just part of nature’s mystery- that sometimes rocks are just shaped like hearts. But, there is a part of me that holds onto magical thinking and I let myself believe that these are little signs of Ezra’s love. And I appreciate when people send images of the heart shaped stones, shadows, and water droplets they find. It’s a reminder to me of how far Ezra’s smile, his love and his spirit has reached.

So, whatever you believe, I wish you a very happy holiday season. From our family, to yours.