Our grief manifests in a plethora of different ways, whether it be sadness and depression or laughter or anger, we each find our own outlet and tend to exhaust them. We do so in even greater concentration perhaps when it comes to the holidays.
These significant events which once upon a time signified love, joy, family, and being together is now a resounding echo of the lack of those things. We’re reminded. We see what was and look out upon what is our present state and realize that it will never quite be the same again.
The thought weighs on me as Lila gets older and learns more and more about family structure...and how her mom isn’t existent in it. I’m curious to see exactly how she’ll respond when she understands.
Will she be sad? Will she even care at all?
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a dark time for many widows and widowers such as myself. “Hellidays” as some of us have come to know them.
I never really believed in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Not for lack of trying, my parents did the fantastic story-telling and annual routine of making the presents appear out of nowhere, etc. I just never put much stock into things I couldn’t see or prove for myself.
These days, however, the idea of returning to childhood innocence and putting my hope and faith in those fictitious things seems like it would be a rather welcomed vacation. When things to be expected were only good and when you actually looked forward to events and happenings.
This will be my third Christmas without her. The feeling is still as fresh and numb as it was two years ago. I’m reminded of how anxious she was to wake up and spend Christmas together. I’m reminded of how excited she was to open up presents. I’m reminded of the look on her face when she’d open a gift I’d remembered she’d wanted. I remember all of it in vivid detail.
I stare at a tree. No presents with her name on them neither “To” nor “From.” Just places where they should be.
It is not a dream. It is not a nightmare.
It is reality...and some realities are worse than nightmares.