2011 December - Aria MacDonald

Archive for December, 2011

Our Christmas

Aria’s story aired on TV One last Sunday. It included updated footage of us back in NZ after her passing. NZ residents can watch HERE

Growing up in a church I have learnt that at Christmas time you pray for the people that have lost loved ones. This year, I understand and appreciate that prayer on a deeper level than ever before.

The lead up to Christmas has been really hard for our family. The whole world seems to sing about how wonderful Christmas time is and how it is the best time of the year. We feel empty and broken and that can’t be fixed with sing song Christmas carols about snow (always weird in summer time!) or excessive amounts of food and presents.

We have felt a real sense of burden for those, ourselves included, whose Christmas time is not the wonderful time we are told it should be. There are many reasons why Christmas time can be tough, lack of money, lack of family, lack of meaningful rest. For some the trials of life simply do not stop because it is the 25th of December.

Personally I felt burdened by the long list of things I felt I needed to accomplish for Christmas day to make it special. Food, presents brought etc etc. I guess for the first time I have had the ‘freedom’ to easily access a supermarket without blizzards or co-ordinating Aria’s hospital care. Yet I did not feel free.

Our Christmas day started in the wee small hours of the morning with me being fairly sick with stomach cramps. I obviously won’t go into details, for your sakes, but it was likely pregnancy/anxiety related. However, thankfully, the idea of cooking and consuming christmas lunch was enough to put me back on the bathroom floor. So Hamish and Asher, who couldn’t care less about the lack of roast lamb, had scrambled eggs for Christmas lunch! Perfect.

As it turned out Asher also couldn’t have cared less about the pile of presents under the Christmas when he woke up. Around 10am he vaguely motioned to one of his stockings which we let him open and then didn’t mention them again until Nana and Poppa arrived in the evening. Again, quite a surprise. Despite it being his birthday less than 3 weeks ago he had managed to compile an impressive list of new presents he wanted. Argh- despite many lectures about how privileged he was and how some people don’t get presents at Christmas time and how Jesus is the real present he didn’t seemed discouraged from his ‘I-wants’

So until about 6pm on Christmas day it was a foodless and presentless day. Asher declared it was the best Christmas ever and Hamish and I felt a huge sense of peace. Oddly the grief of Aria’s missing presence countered by this peace. How everyday must be like Christmas in heaven for her. We never could of provided that for her. Last Christmas she was greatly troubled by breathing issues and the previous one to that she was dying of liver disease. Aria is free from the earthly body that let her down!

We enjoyed Christmas evening with our family. There was food and laughter and yes, presents. But they had been redeemed knowing we could of gone without them and God would of filled us with all we needed.

Our brokenness for Aria’s passing can never be fixed with stuff or things. It can however be healed and soothed by relationship with God and others. We were so thankful to God for His peace and knowledge He too lost a child, willingly for our sake so that we might live in heaven with Him. We were thankful to the people who emailed, text, called and remembered our pain on Christmas Day and before and after. Thank you!


Ooops- forgot to say Nicoleena is Asher’s made up name for the baby, it wasn’t based on any knowledge of gender 😉

Recently I have felt a sense of progress in our life. We are now past that horrible raw crazy grief yuck. Yes- I know- very well expressed by me. Honestly, never in my life have I thought I was going crazy until that period in my life. But hey- we just lost our 5 year old daughter, it is to be expected.

For a time I felt like I could see a little light at the end of the tunnel, it was exciting and encouraging. It is still there but events of recent weeks definitely caused it to be blocked out for a time. Setbacks I guess are just part of life. I wonder if I got too complacent. I remember thinking at a couple of church services I went to that I didn’t cry or even need to bite my lip hard to distract myself. I was so pleased. What do you know? Nek minnit (kiwi joke-sorry US people) bawling at church on Sunday and not that discreet damp eyes, little sniffs crying either. Sigh.


Yesterday, while hunting for some christmas decorations we brought back from Omaha, I opened Aria’s suitcase from Omaha. Most of her stuff is used by Asher except her clothes. Almost the right size for him but totally the wrong colour. What are we supposed to do with them? No clues or ideas. We brought some summer clothes for her which went unworn, thankfully I could give those away because they didn’t hold any emotion. But all her other clothes do, particularly her hospital gowns, which she loved and lived in (even at home, see pic).

Anyway. If you have a moment you can watch this video from Asher. There is some news in there that is exciting and hopeful.

Ooops- forgot to say Nicoleena is Asher’s made up name for the baby, it wasn’t based on any knowledge of gender 😉

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11