Blessed with a fine classic American Family, and plenty of them, Christmas was full of all the activities that are thought traditional and each year, it seemed one more thing we might do or pray or sing or visit!
Then life Changed - the star on top of my Christmas tree was my beautiful husband - we enjoyed the best ever Christmas Wedding and it stayed like that all year long with us; and the years we enjoyed so well together glowed and grew in worth, till his early and sudden death one July morning.
That first Christmas without him was not easy for me, broken hearted, or for our two early teens, son and daughter, without their Dad, and tears instead of laughter for the first time in their lives. But we DID it! Our emotions were a mess, but we became “Team Family” fast and created a number of things, drawing on our accumulated glow, to save the day and Save the Season and bring the celebration back fast. But it had been six months since our grief, and we were off the 911 list for grief-shock care, and we could do it, we were ready.
Not so easy when we lose a close other AT the Winter Holidays….at best, the work of closure and rites and funeral and estate actions - tiring and conflicted grieving and celebration at once. At best, one accepts the idea that “This Christmas is beautiful but quieter than usual”, as we pick our way carefully along the tricky path.
We lost a close one of the “Kidz on the Block” and our Mother last Christmas - one was too young and the other so happy to be meeting loved ones in heaven ahead of her, after a grand long life of 92 years!
Still, Christmas was definitely different last year and at this first anniversary of their passing, it’s still a bit quiet by choice, but then our family rules say we must put it away.
Today’s way with life and death can be too cold for many, and some places in society will give you 72 hours to get over it, while others, tied to the past, demand you wear mourning for the rest of your life.
It is never easy, but not impossible. Most of us take this moment in things to sort it out and choose the good thing to do - the thing that WORKS - the thing does the right job by ourselves and others, the thing that leads to the best healing path possible, the thing that empowers closure.