I got up this morning with one important task to accomplish, decorate the front of the house with holiday lights. I've notice the number of houses in the neighborhood slowly being lit up with beautiful lights of every color. My daughter has been asking when we would show our holiday spirit by lighting up our house as well.
As I don't do anything small scale, I ventured out to find all the newest, and latest, house lights on the market. I found a nice supply at a local big box store, then came right home to get started. After setting up all the cool things I had purchased I decided that I needed more. I decided I would head across town to a department store where they would likely have something different for me to choose from. After finding just what I was looking for I decided I should use the opportunity to buy some gift wrap, stocking stuffers and a couple of new stockings for the two new people in our lives. I grabbed one for my daughter's boyfriend, then another for my own new love.
The store was filled with shoppers. The shelves were stocked high with bright holiday items, and there was the continuous sound of beautiful holiday music. As I pushed my cart down the aisle I could feel the earth beneath me sinking. No the ground was not actually sinking, but my heart was becoming so heavy that it felt like my whole being was caught in some kind of quick sand. Within a minute or two I was fighting off the crowd, trying with all my might to get to the damn cashier. I felt like I could barely breath, and then it happened.
Why does it still hurt so bad? It's been over two years since he left. It's been three years since he was here to celebrate Christmas with me. It was four years ago that we celebrated Michael's "perfect Christmas." He knew that he was dying, and he didn't know if it would be his last, so he wanted to have the perfect old fashioned Christmas he never had as a child. We did it up wonderfully. It was just that, perfect. The following year he was still around. That year he called it his "bonus Christmas." He wasn't doing as well by then, so our celebration was much quieter, and modest.
In the year that followed we had a white stocking that hung in the front room. Throughout the days leading to Christmas the kids and I filled it with hand written memories and some of his favorite treats. Last year was a bit easier, as I was busy moving into a new house, and didn't take much notice of the holiday until the last minute.
This year there is someone new. I think I will call it my "bittersweet Christmas." I've noticed a phenomena that occurs throughout my week. The days that my new love, Abel, is around I am at peace. I feel loved, and I feel quite content. The days that he is away I feel Michael's absence. I remember his love, my heart feels heavy, and I feel sad. I know that in time I will be able to better blend the love I feel from, and for, both of these two beautiful men. In fact last night I had a dream, and in my dream both Abel and Michael were one being. I remember being with the him they became, and feeling both loved and confused. I know that I continue to struggle with the emotions of my heart. I continue to seek a better understanding of who I am. Michael's husband, Abel's boyfriend, a widower, someones lover.
My life has become bittersweet.