Christmas 2015

I just sort of wanted to get through Christmas this year. Not that I was dreading it, or anything. I’m typically a serious Christmas enthusiast. I was just feeling a bit sad, last-minute and worn out this time around.

Still, Christmas came, as it always does. And somehow it was good. Seems my dad’s passing has allowed me to really put things in perspective and let go of expectations. Kind of sad how it took such a significant loss to make me see what was really important.

We took my mom to an early Christmas Eve mass at her church. My brothers and their families joined us. It was a poignant service. As I watched the priest and deacons, I kept remembering the many times I’d seen my dad perform those same rituals. I was feeling overwhelmingly sad for a while, until I imagined my dad sitting next to me, holding my hand. I felt a calm come over me and all was well.

Afterwards, my extended family all came to our house to eat and celebrate. There’s not nearly enough room here for all of us, but it’s never stopped us before, and no one really seemed to care.

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I have a mess of pictures, but this one seems appropriately representative of the evening. My mom, surrounded by her family, all of us just enjoying the simple and silly things.

The days have been frantic and fast-paced this past week, and I was tired going into Christmas Day.  We went to a brother-in-law’s house and celebrated with Jack’s very large extended family. There was a sense of camaraderie there. Jack and his siblings lost their own father this time last year. A sister-in-law lost her step-dad just weeks later. A nephew-in-law lost his dad recently, just days after my dad passed. We’re all getting used to a new, and not altogether welcome sense of normalcy. It helps to know I’m not doing this alone.

The Christmas Day festivities were loud, but there was much laughter and cheer. We ate ourselves silly. Big “kids” played new games with little kids. Conversations were animated. There were no cross words. I got to spend time holding my favorite baby, our great-nephew, who is just mellow and adorable.

A friend and I were exchanging comments in reference to my Christmas albums which I posted on FaceB00k this morning. She said she was thinking of me and I replied I was thinking of her as well. She lost her mother earlier this year, and it seems her dad is not long for this world either. I said that it had been a challenging year for many of us, and she responded, “But I can’t call it bad. It’s just life.”

I realized that I had to agree with her. We’ve reached that age, some of us, where having to part ways with a parent or loved one is an inevitably more common occurrence. There is sadness to bear, but if we’re lucky, as I have been, much grace as well. As I told my friend, I am grateful. It was a beautiful Christmas.

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10 thoughts on “Christmas 2015

  1. Looks like a great family Christmas! Good to see everyone was able to come over to celebrate, even if it was a wee bit crowded. I do have to how Lucy and Dacotah handled that mob .

    I have to agree. It is sad but it seems like all of us have lost a loved one recently and we are dealing with a new level of normalcy. I think you have put it perspective very well. Merry Christmas!

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    • Lucy and Dacotah love all of the people and attention. The only problem is we have to watch Dacotah carefully. She would love to partake in some of the Christmas food, and she’ll be quick to steal anything that might be dropped, but she’s got pretty significant food allergies. She fared well this year.

      Yes, this year was the first step for a lot of us in getting used to being without a loved one. I’m grateful to know there are others (online too) who are figuring out this path at the same time.

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  2. Merry Christmas Tee! So glad you had a great time with your family. I remember all too clearly the first holidays after my in-laws passed away. They’re very sad, but in a way, it brought all of us closer. We’re still struggling to find a new normal, but we’re making it work.
    Enjoy having your children home! I know you will. I’m enjoying mine as well. 🙂

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    • I DID have a great time! And as you said, even though there was much sadness, this time in our lives HAS brought us all closer. (I’ve learned to be more forgiving, and I’ve learned that forgiveness won’t necessarily change the other person, but it gives me a lot more peace than holding a big grudge.)

      I’ve loved having my kids at home. I wish they could stay longer, but they’re at that age when they have to work when they can. So Chesney had to go back to her house and job already on Saturday, and Jaeger has to go back today. Back to routine for us … 😦

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  3. I’m so glad that you are finding peace in your heart with all this hard change. I think the grasping and accepting of the final acts of our lives is a necessary and key part of our finding our own peace.

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    • I’m amazed at the sense of peace that I’ve felt. I think it’s a good sign. My dad would want that. And after all, very few of us will get through this life without experiencing the loss of a loved one at some point. There’s really only one way to get through it, and that is with acceptance.

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  4. Our families are so spread out, so we rarely see each other, even during the holidays. I always enjoy coming here, seeing and hearing about your large extended family get togethers! And yes, some of us have reached “that” age. It’s just life. Merry Christmas, Tee!

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    • Abby, sometimes I wish for a quiet holiday without all of the people and chaos. But I think when all is said and done, I’ll be glad to have had these times with my big, crazy family. Everybody has unique family circumstances and we all have our unique traditions. I guess what matters is that we each recognize and appreciate who and what we have.

      As I mentioned before, I know many of us, (you included,) have suffered a loss this past year. It helps to know we have each other to lean on as we move on.

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  5. I’m glad you made it through Christmas okay. I like to think my parents are close by too when times are difficult – just like you did with your dad during mass. It’s been a great coping mechanism for me.

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