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Is This Real - Part 2

Monday, December 12, 2011
I have been having new waves of disbelief. I thought that I was actually fully accepting this.... then the Christmas holidays hit.... and the ring is no longer on my finger. I am reminded of what I wrote back in April about the same thing.

"Yesterday, while we were out of town, I was driving home with my children from a shopping day and having lunch, when that sudden thought hit me, "Is he really gone from this world?" How is that possible? He was just here? We have had lunch with him in this place. We ate at "that" table right there. He bought me a purse in this store. We have tried on clothes here every year. We have driven this stretch a hundred times together. Weren't we just here with him? Didn't he just plant those flowers in our garden? How could he really be gone? We just had a family dinner together. We just roasted marshmallows together on the back patio. I just helped him organize his office for this year and we were not even finished. He just bought a bunch of nice work clothes that have not even been worn yet. He just took Michael Anthony camping. We just had a glass of wine together. He just kissed me and said good-bye. We just talked on the phone. He just got a new hair cut. Wasn't our summer vacation just yesterday? Didn't we just order take-out and watch a movie on the couch together? Where did he go? ..... He really isn't coming back.

This is real. He really is in heaven. We really miss him but really are trying to move on each and every moment, but are only able to because of the prayers of so many people and because of God's grace that flows towards us daily. My God is more than enough."

The same thoughts of what we “just” did together have gone through my mind again. Weren’t the kids and I just sitting on the couch together watching him meticulously string the Christmas lights on the tree? Didn’t we just do our evening Christmas shopping spree together after drinking our favorite holiday cocktail? Weren’t we just giggling in the car over our gifts we purchased with excitement? Didn’t we just have our annual Christmas lunch together while going over everything we had purchased for the kids and discuss what else we had to get? (While looking at the spreadsheet that Michael made every year, to organize his thoughts, with all of the gifts on it!) Didn’t I just hear him sing "O,Holy Night" in the Christmas Eve service? Didn’t we just have our first tree trimming party…. in December of 1987? It seems like last year?

I thought I was doing great. Just pull down the decorations and put them up where they always go. How hard is that? I invited my family over for roasted hot dogs and chili last weekend to help me decorate the tree. I thought having them over would help by having lots of activity going on in the house. It did the opposite and I only felt lonelier. I wanted to disappear in a dark closet. I had to go to my room to cry and get in a quiet place and ran into Mia doing the same thing. We hugged and cried together. I told everyone I was ditching the idea of decorating the tree and would wait until it was just the kids and I. Everyone understood, except my two new little boys in the house and my 5-year-old niece. I decided to let them each hang a few ornaments so they would think they had helped. One by one, I pulled out some from the box that held my and Michael’s ornaments. They were running to me for me to hand them ornaments, and unbeknownst to them, I was continually swallowing a huge lump in my throat as every ornament had a memory. I was beginning to disappear into my own grief box. So many of them were from our first tree trimming party and the rest we collected each year from our travels. I kept searching for ornaments that had no sentimental value to them because I could not bring myself to hand to them the ones that held precious personal memories….like the nest with two ceramic lovebirds in it that clips to a branch, or the one that has wooden stockings hanging across a fireplace with all of our names on it, or the wooden ones he painted as a child, or the little red elf that sat on a branch in the tree each year who always held a special gift from him on Christmas morning. I was thinking to myself, “Is this real? Is he really not here? Is he really not in the next room drinking eggnog, laughing, and telling stories? Where did he go? Is he coming back? Am I the sole parent carrying on all of these traditions? Is my wedding ring really in a box now? This is really hard! Why does that lump come up so hard and suddenly in my throat? How can I breathe fine one minute and the next minute feel like I can’t catch my breath?”

It bewilders me, that after 9 and a half months, I still subconsciously fight the feeling and thoughts that this is not real. The feelings are still there, resting right under the surface, ready to push up with any little memory lately. I placed a big evergreen cross with pinecones on his grave last week. He loved Christmas as much or more than the children. What will Christmas Eve be like this year without him reading the Christmas story from the Bible, then drinking a glass of wine with him after the kids go to bed? Christmas morning without him pouring our coffee in our Christmas mugs and bringing it to me before we walk into the den to see what Santa Clause brought the children? I don't know. We will walk through it, and we will overcome, yet another very difficult "first".

One day at a time…one tear at a time….one season at a time


Anonymous Says:
December 13, 2011 at 7:36 AM

I know there will be no more difficult time for you than at Christmas, but it is in the celebration of His birth that gives us the hope in the future, in the eternal, and the knowing that we will all gather together again. Again, and very very soon. May all His joy spring forth in your being - in a most supernatural manner!

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