When I was a kid, Christmases were pure joy and fun. It meant cousins, grandparents, decorations, special dinners, holiday treats, and sometimes, winter fun like snowmen and sledding. It meant no school, warm fires, music sing-a-longs and laughter.
Pretty soon I grew up. Christmases were still, for a few years, about family and love and gift giving. Then I met Mike, and being a wife, having a husband, brought new meaning. I was no longer the child but the grown-up, doing the cooking, shopping and wrapping presents. Taking joy in creating and presenting the spirit of the season in the faith we shared.
The last Christmas we spent together in 2012 might have been the best one because Mike was excited like he’d never been with me yet. He helped decorate our little tree, put up the lights, and choose presents to give. I remember sitting outside on our lanai gazing at the lights and ornaments with him. I remember his sense of peace, that year. I always wonder if he knew the end was near for him, because somehow, it felt different. I had no idea it would be our last. But looking back, I wonder if he did.
I hate that question. But it's always going to be there, isn't it? When you meet people, it's one of the standard getting-to-know-you questions and you just can't avoid it.
I guess if I had a "normal" career it would be easy to sidestep the "I'm widowed" answer, which I'll admit, I used a lot in the beginning after Mike died. I didn't really know what else to say, and it had the doubly-useful ingredient that it stopped people from nosing around much more. Then for awhile I tried to say I was a writer, but people would ask what I was writing...well I'm writing about my late husband, and grief...so there it was. I couldn't avoid it.
After years of hopping around various jobs and careers from Washington, DC to Hollywood to Hawaii, I've done so many things it's hard to say, what it is I really do. I do a lot of things. I've done a lot of things.