As the holidays descend on me, it’s another group of those dreaded “firsts”:
- The first Thanksgiving without my mom and my other sister.
- The first Christmas without my mom and my other sister.
- My first birthday without my mom and my other sister.
Unfortunately, I’m no stranger to those “firsts” after losing a loved one, but it never gets any easier and it’s always a struggle to know how to behave during festive times when you’re dealing with loss. Each loss has provided me with another new chapter or phase that one must get through. Yes, I’m tired of it. Enough, God! I’m tired. Give me a break.
I’m thankful we drove to NY last year for my 50th birthday and for Christmas. As it turned out, it was the last time I saw both my sister and my mother. I’ll be thinking about that this Christmas. It will make me sad and I’ll probably not look at the photographs we took last year for some time.
My wedding photos have been difficult to look at since the death of my sister Dori in 2012, but now my other sister Rhonda and my mother will be two more “ghosts” that will haunt me when I look at the photos. I know that’s the wrong way to think of it, but they make me sad. I wonder how long it will take me to look at those photos and not be sad. It was such an incredibly fun day and we all had such a fantastic time.
I don’t have a group of friends who come and visit me and check on me and take me out for fun things to do. I don’t have close friends who make me wonderful comfort food when I’m having a hard time. As it has been since we lost Dave’s niece in 2008, it’s just Dave and I here on the stream. We rely on ourselves to be each other’s rocks and it’s a hard burden to bear for both of us. How much can we say to each other after each loss? We do the best we can and we take strength from each day we’re here to spread the word about brain aneurysms. We have to. It’s all we can do to truly honor Kim and Dori’s memory – trying to save another life.
I’m tired of planning services. I’m tired of losing the people I love and I’m tired of grieving…and yet, I have more to do yet. Granted, I haven’t spent every Christmas with my mom since I moved to Maine in 2000, but we have made it back to NY every couple of years to spend the holiday with her. I miss her voice. I miss her laugh and her wacky sense of humor. She’s irreplaceable and I knew the day would come when we’d have to say “good-bye”, but I hadn’t expected it when it happened. Grieving can suck the life out of you, but I have more life to give apparently and God keeps testing me. I wish he’d stop…I’m good! Really! Oh, and by the way, while we’re at it God, my own brain aneurysm angiogram checkup in January needs a clean bill of health, okay?
So, this Christmas I haven’t decided yet if I’ll put up our Christmas tree. I love Christmas. I love Christmas carols. I have listened to carols for a few weeks already, which was a big no-no in our household growing up! Mom refused to let us play Christmas carols on the piano until after Thanksgiving. The only exceptions was music we had to rehearse for band concerts because we usually started rehearsing those earlier in November. Rhonda played clarinet, Dori the saxophone, and I played the clarinet and piano. I supposed I love listening because they’re familiar, comforting tunes and I know all of the words. 🙂
I remember we couldn’t WAIT to get the Christmas books out after Thanksgiving. I found one of those old piano books at mom’s apartment in NY. I may pull out the electric keyboard and see if I’m still able to tickle the fake ivories in honor of my mom. We’ll see. I think I want decorations, I just want to take the time and effort to do it. LOL I need those Martha Stewart elves to come in and beautify my house for Christmas.
One extremely sentimental item I WILL be placing out somewhere, are the old manger pieces from the manger we had growing up. The physical manger is long gone, but the ceramic pieces that went in it have been securely wrapped in newspaper every year since I was born I think. They were even in the original box in my mom’s apartment, which blew me away. Putting out the baby Jesus was something mom always made a big production of. We HAD to put him in the manger last and could not unwrap him from the newspaper until everyone else was in their proper positions.
So, perhaps this year, in honor of mom and Rhonda, I’ll put up the manger, I’ll pause to position the baby Jesus just so in the middle of the manger, and try to be happy and smile. And I should also take a note from the Moms Eulogy FINAL (<–PDF) and read at my mother’s service and “Have Fun!”. I’ll try…I’m trying.