I swear I saw your face amongst the glittering lights and shiny baubles hanging on the Christmas tree. Your smile shone brighter than the brightest of lights. There was peace in your eyes along with a mischievous twinkle. Were you trying to tell me you are okay and that I will be also? Is that your final gift? The gift of peace and the knowledge that your soul lives on and you are okay? Are you saying that though we may miss you dearly this holiday that you are still with us and always will be? That you will live on in our hearts and in the memories we all share. As I head off to bed I am afraid to turn off the tree lights for fear you will disappear and I won’t see you again. You smile as to say, I will always be with you and you haven’t seen the last of me yet. Just keep me in your heart and I will always be with you. Keep me alive with joyous memories and love. I unplug the tree with a tear sliding down my face but smile as I turn away knowing you will always be watching over me.
I wrote that as I sat alone on Christmas eve. This was almost the last of the firsts. I still had Valentines day and the first anniversary of Jack's passing to get through. This one was hard.
Jacked loved Christmas, when the kids were young and easy to buy for I had to real him in from filling up the tree with more presents than they needed. It was easy and cheaper when they were young so the gifts would take up half the living room. As they got older and money tighter we always made sure they had that one big gift they wanted. Jack would do the shopping with me. He would do most of the wrapping. Boy could he wrap one hell of a Christmas present. Me not so much. Everyone always knew who wrapped what.
Christmas eve gift wrapping was our tradition, just Jack and I. Sitting on the bedroom floor if the kids where home or at the kitchen table if they were out. Laughing and complaining about the never end pile. Once the gifts were wrapped we would relax in front of the tree for a while and just cuddle.
Christmas morning, Jack was always first up making the coffee. When everyone was up, we would take turns passing out presents. He loved to see the joy on his children's faces. As the kids got older, he ended up with the biggest pile of gifts. we all loved him so much and wanted to give him the world.
Christmas dinner was a much smaller affair than Thanksgiving but we still did it together. Christmas night we may get the odd family members over for ham sandwich's, drinks and laughs. Jack had a great laugh.
So that first Christmas eve I spent alone once my dad had gone to bed. I sat on the couch looking at the lights on the tree and let the tears fall. I hoped that if I got them all out that night I could get through the morning..
Christmas morning we all made it through, however there was no joy in the presents. The heart of our Christmas was no longer there. We laughed a little but you could sense the sadness. After gifts I think we all went to our rooms under the guise of putting our presents away but really it was to grieve.
As with Thanksgiving, Christmas is a logistical nightmare for the kids and their extended families. I know they may feel bad leaving me alone but they don't need to. I want them to be happy. I want their holidays to be filled with joy and laughter, not sadness. As long as we celebrate as a family it doesn't have to be on the day. It just has to be.
Now that they are married they need to start their own traditions, their own family memories. I know I will always be part of those but I will also make my own traditions, my own memories and go wherever my shiny takes me.