People tell you that the first holiday after losing someone you love is the worst, it will get “easier” in time. I wholeheartedly dispute that bit of advice… it doesn’t seem possible that those special days we all celebrate will get better just because time passes. That the feeling of something missing, of not having an essential part of you there will dim over the years.
There aren’t enough years left for that. Not nearly enough.
The memories I have of Christmas past bring a special kind of pain… too close for comfort I guess. This is our first year celebrating without my Mom, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer at the beginning of June. She so loved this time of year… decorating every inch of the house, baking carrot cakes for a list of giftees that got longer every year, shopping the sales and taking such care in wrapping that her gifts looked too pretty to open.
She and my Dad hosted a family Christmas party for many years on the Sunday before the 25th, and it was one of those events everyone in the family (neighborhood) made, even if just for a bit. The tree was live then, covered in gold lights (special ordered) and beautiful red and gold ornaments. There was a second tree with all the “special” ornaments we’d made over the years.
My Mom knew how to do Christmas.
With this kind of teacher, it will be easy enough to copy her and I hope that no one will notice that my heart is just as heavy as it was on the day she left us. I only admit that here, to you all, because to say it aloud to the people in my life seems very unfair. Everyone has struggles, and they don’t need to hear sadness during a happy time of year. And soon, sometime soon, I will be able to move on. I know it. I’m genuinely happy for her peace, but now I’m still sad, very sad, for my own loss.
As I make it through the days of the season she so loved, I feel her lack, most keenly. The empty space is so very large, so very hard to fill. I catch myself wanting to share something with her, even now, months later. We won’t exchange gifts or hugs or tale of absurd gifts we’d gotten. All that’s left is for me to build a different holiday with the people I love most.
It will take more than one Christmas, or one of any holiday for that matter, before things ever seem right again. Don’t believe the “It will get easier with time” crap. It’s different, never easier.