There is no escaping this holiday season between the same Walmart commercials which replay back to back as we try to distract ourselves by watching a football game or as we travel by the pretty decorated houses which reminds us it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Ugh!
The holidays can be so wonderful. Looking back, I remember wishing the holiday season could last just a bit longer. Most years, my heart was light so it was easy to over decorate my house, inside and out, adding more lights each year. My tree was my masterpiece adorned by all of my special ornaments which told a 30 year story of our life. Could not get enough of Nat King Cole and his holiday tunes. Even though Amy was not a fan of Christmas music, she tolerated it for me. Now, you could not pay me to go into a mall or intentionally listen to holiday music.
In happier times, it felt right to want to spread good tidings and joy. Yet, I could not help but notice the healthy looking Christmas trees thrown on the curb on December 26 as if to imply that some of us were anxious for the holiday season to end. In hindsight, I can’t help but wonder if they were grievers…
Christmas Eve was always reserved just for my family of 5. So many traditions … now, most of those traditions have come to a screeching halt because none of us can imagine continuing any of those traditions without Amy.
That probably sounds very sad to someone who has not lost a child but I assure you once again some things have to change in order to survive the most wonderful time of the year. We are all too broken to create our “new normal” and as far as I know, no one added it to their Christmas list.
I now know what it feels like to dread this season. Please let me apologize to anyone who has suffered through a holiday season feeling the way I now do and who were counting the days until January 2.
Focus on the true meaning of Christmas was suggested as a way for me to get through the holidays. My first reaction to that suggestion was hmmm .. is that what you and your family are planning to do or is this advise reserved solely for grieving families? It’s a little difficult to focus when my faith is still a little shaky and we are still struggling to understand what the hell happened and why Amy is now in the “better place” again this Christmas.
Again, I do believe there is a better place and I also believe my Amy is there but as I continue to say, it still hurts to be here without her. And let’s get real, who among us would like their child to be in the better place for Christmas or any other day? Of course, I absolutely believe it’s a much better place than being here but forgive me if I still ache for Amy to be here … not as a memory or in the spiritual sense … If only God would let them come home for holidays.
I believe it is fair to say that I try to be generous and do good deeds all year round, not just during the holidays, so the gift of giving will not lift my spirits this month. Yet, as in other years, including last year, I will be generous and remember to be kind to those less fortunate. That is easy to do, the rest is not.
Last year I put a single white light candle in every window and hung a wreath on my front door. I hung lanterns outside lite by tealights instead of the holiday lights we typically put up. The lanterns were lite in memory of Amy and my loved ones who are also in the better place.
I thought about it and I am not going to revisit my pre-devastation day decorating because it would only be a way of keeping up appearances so our house did not look like the house who lost a child. Well, guess what, that’s exactly who we are. No big hoopty do holiday light displays will change that. Yet, if the day ever comes when I change my mind, I am leaving that option open, but it won’t be this year.
Oh how I still want to move. Last night on my way to buy yarn, I was stopped at a traffic light when the rescue squad raced by in front of me. Instantly, I was reminded and overcome with so much pain and misery. Why am I still driving around this town which no longer feels like home? Every corner holds a sweet or painful memory which breaks my heart. But then I remind myself that the cemetery is here. Could I actually move away from the cemetery where my daughter is buried? Damn it, why is my daughter buried in a cemetery?
It all still feels so wrong. And even now, there are days when I think, Oh my God, no, no, no. I still wake up in the middle of the night and when I “remember” I cry. There are times during the day when an old memory comes to mind and I feel so depressed at the reality of Devastation Day that I just want to shrink inside myself. I miss my daughter so much.
So ready or not, the holiday season is here. 30 more days of absolute torture and then it will be over. I cannot wait!
Always remembering Amy.