Matthew’s Christmas Snow

7 12 2010

Matthew’s Christmas Snow

I was told I was going to have great difficulty getting pregnant. Once my husband and I were married we started trying to have a baby right away. I was surprised when it didn’t seem to take that long; however, my baby had died secondary to complications of triploidy in utero in my 2nd trimester in August of 1993. One day I went for my regular doctor’s appointment and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. I had no signs that I had miscarried so it was quite a shock. On the autopsy, they determined he was male. We named him Matthew Joseph (Matthew because it meant God’s gift, and Joseph because that was Jeff’s dad’s middle name). In just a matter of 5 years previous to this, both of my parents died, along with my grandmother and several other relatives. This grief shattered my soul; a piece of me died with him. I had called my church for spiritual guidance regarding customary funeral rites for a baby that was not baptized, or a baptism could be arranged, but no one returned my call; I felt abandoned.

Although soured on organized religion after this, I still had a great faith. I often spoke to Matthew, asking him if he could just send me a sign to let me know he was okay and he could hear me. Of course I knew he was in heaven, but there is other level of you that wishes you could have a conversation with them. I never even had the opportunity to hold him because he was not whole. I remember just touching my lower abdomen, and said goodbye, as a tear fell from my eye as they put my under anesthesia.

We planned to go home to New York that Christmas. In the early part of December, Jeff and I talked about snow and how lovely it would be to see it. Jeff reminded me that Long Island rarely got snow. And without thinking I said to him, “Matthew said he would make it snow.” I have no idea why that came out of my mouth. But inside me, I just knew it was true. Jeff gave me “the look” but didn’t try to dissuade me too much, only to say, “Don’t get your hopes up.” I looked at him with an unshakeable faith:  It. Would. Snow.

Early Christmas Eve day, his family gathered and opened gifts. Seeing the children opening their packages was heart-wrenching to me. I had to excuse myself quietly to the bathroom multiple times. The whole week the weather person said it was going to snow, then it wasn’t going to snow, then it was going to snow, and the final word was that definitely no snow. Still I looked at Jeff and said, “Matthew said it would snow.” He remained quiet, knowing how much my heart was aching. I think he was preparing himself for the emotional mess that ultimately was to come when it didn’t snow.

His sisters had gone out to their friends’ houses. We were sitting in the den in the early evening. The den was connected to the garage. The four of us sat there, watching something Christmas-related on TV. We heard the garage door open, expecting to see one of his sisters walk through the garage door to the den. We waited…and waited. His parents wondered what was keeping whoever it was that just pulled up. I walked to the window to see if maybe they were outside. Instead I saw it was snowing.

I gasped. “IT’S SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

If it had only been me who heard the noise of the supposed garage door opener, I might chalk it up to wishful thinking. Jeff’s parents heard it, too. Had we not heard that noise, I would have missed the snow. None of his sisters had come home.

Without a coat and without shoes, I ran out of the back of the house and let the snowflakes fall on my face, and I whispered, “Thank you, my baby. I love you. Merry Christmas.” I looked at Jeff and said, “Now do you believe?” He burst out in tears, happiness mixed with grief.

It seemed to be letting up and I yelled, “Keep it coming. We’ll be right back.” I told Jeff we needed to go get our coats on to come out here to fully enjoy the moment. All of a sudden, it started snowing more heavily.

If anyone has seen a large-flake snowfall, the snowflakes seem to silently hit the ground. There is a sense of peace, awe and beauty surrounding nature’s majesty. Even the air is different, soft, like a whisper.

Jeff’s parents watched us thinking we had absolutely lost our minds.

We went inside, bundled up, put on shoes and proceeded to go for a walk around the pond. We had a good talk, a good cry, and a good laugh. Our spirits were renewed.

Midnight Mass had never been more beautiful to me than that night. Matthew gave us one of the best Christmas presents we had ever received. Regardless of the circumstances of his death, he was my child and his life was significant for the short amount of time I had the privilege to carry him. I will always be his mother. The boundary between life and death can never change that. He will never be forgotten. His spirit remains with us…always.


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4 responses

7 12 2010
Allison

That is a beautiful story, Hilda. Thank you for sharing it.

7 12 2010
PBMom

Thank YOU for leaving a comment.

7 12 2010
Danica

WOW… What an inspiring story. Miracles do happen….Beautiful….

7 12 2010
PBMom

Thank you, Danica, for taking the time to post a comment. Do you have any stories you would like to share? Please feel free. I like to interface with people reading my blogs.

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