As suggested, we chose to change our Christmas tradition this year…we chose not to celebrate at all.
First time in my entire life although there have been many times I have wanted to just let it slide – I never had the guts. Fear of disappointing others has kept me from it. This year everyone was kind of disappointed already so we just let it go.
No tree. No decorations. No children. No grandchildren. No extended family. No Christmas dinner. No Christmas --period.
I just could not put up a Christmas tree and pull out all of the little handmade Christmas ornaments that the three kids have made over the years reminding me that there are now only two. I could not pull out of the little wooden toy ornaments that I have been decorating our trees with for most of their lives. I could not unpack the kids Christmas stockings with Brian’s baby nickname on it –B-B. (The name he called himself when he was little trying to say “Baby”) The little handprints that Kara made for us with Paxton’s tiny baby hand or his stocking that said Baby’s First Christmas. The red satin balls that we laugh about every time we pull them out because we are always reminded of the year Brian was five and he was helping decorate the tree and all we had were those red satin balls and he walked around and around the tree and finally in exasperation put it back in the box exclaiming loudly “I can’t find any place for this one!” and picked up another one identical to it and put it immediately on the branch right in front of him. He was such a goof.
So instead Donald and I sat alone in the house. Ate a crappy lunch at the Waffle House and came home to a marathon of nauseatingly syrupy Shirley Temple movies.
And 2014 could not just go quietly without hitting us yet again. On Friday December 19th, my mother’s oldest sister and the aunt that I was always closest to --passed away at 92 years old. So on the 23rd of December - four months to the day after the kids died I’m sitting at a funeral. Saturday December 20th, my sister’s 56-year old brother in law died unexpectedly – The actual cause of death is yet unknown. Perfectly healthy 56 year old man woke up with unexplained stomach pain leading to the discovery of systemic sepsis from what they suspect was a perforated bowel and within 48 hours he was gone.
We have had a standing tradition to go and spend New Year’s Eve with my best friend Kathie and her husband. We would eat dinner out and come back to her house to quietly ring in the New Year and go to bed and then we’d get up New Year’s Day and I would make homemade blueberry waffles for everyone for breakfast and then together we would cook a Traditional Southern New Year’s dinner.
Her husband usually cooks pork tenderloin on the grill and she and I together do the rest. We enjoy a great dinner together clean up, pack up and head home. This year, I had originally canceled our visit since I have not really been able to do social things. And I did not want to spoil anyone else’s holiday but she kept saying although she understood if I didn’t – if I felt like I could --even last minute – come on. I do look forward to that all year long and though I did not want to promise since I didn’t know if I actually “could” I thought maybe if I knew she wasn’t going to a lot of trouble and expense planning it – I could leave it at “maybe” status.
New Year’s was one holiday I actually wanted to celebrate and asked her if I could muster up what it took to come could we just make the two hour drive to the mountains and have New Year’s dinner at The Dillard House Restaurant. She was on board and so that was the new plan…now after two more deaths in my family and still yet another week left in this stinking year – I’m terrified to leave home!
I did not really miss having Christmas but have had my usual relapse of the crying spells from being home. Like I told Donald, it is not so much wondering how I will make it through Christmas but how we will make it through the rest of our lives…
I feel like I am sinking into a dark hole. Not a feeling I was expecting four months later. I was expecting to have several really hard months each getting easier than the one before and then once I got past those and the first holidays and birthdays etc. I would be safely beyond the danger of depression. That doesn’t appear to be the case. Everyone seems to have moved on and begun to get on with their lives again as if nothing has happened and I am back to crying in the toy department. Not only the toy department but baby clothes, children’s shoes, tools – even the word “tools” as it refers to computer tools on my job, I can’t even channel surf past carpentry or home improvement shows on TV or go by garlic bread sticks, eggnog or pumpkin pie in the grocery store.
I was in Walmart to pick up a few things including food for a pot of soup yesterday and could not see through the tears to get my shopping done. I was crying down every single aisle; thinking to myself: “I cannot buy him those little shoes. I can never again buy him these little cartoon pajamas. I cannot buy him these cars or those trucks. I cannot get him this new movie. I can never read him this book or see him in that little hat. I cannot buy him this cuddly teddy bear to sleep with…”
I feel like I am losing my mind and I’m quite sure to the occasional shopper I look like it too.