So another Christmas has passed us by, my third without my husband. Initially, I felt like this one was going to be a bit easier than my past two, and I guess in some ways it was.
However despite enjoying the festive build-up, the Christmas parties, house-decorating and gift-buying, the heaviness in my heart on Christmas day was unavoidable.
A part of me was missing and there was just no way to feel whole without him there. The tears leaked from my eyes quietly throughout the whole day.
The love and kindness of my family was a balm, as always, but it couldn't fully fill the whole in my heart.
There is something incredibly lonely be being in a room full of people you love yet still feeling lost, like I don't really fit.
It's exhausting to keep the smile in place and stay present in the moment rather than letting thoughts wander to the one person I'm missing more than anyone or anything else. The man who should be here by my side, joining in on the fun.
I kept telling myself 'you have SO MUCH to be grateful for; there is immeasurable love in your life; you have a belly full of good food and brightly wrapped gifts with your name on them - you want for nothing while so many around the world go without. Don't wallow in the sadness or feel sorry for yourself on today, of all days!' Yet of course, the grief cannot be rationalised and will always find a way to make itself felt.
As lovely as the day was, it hasn't felt like a 'Christmas' for me since his death. I don't know it if ever will again. Maybe in time... hopefully in time... I will be able to laugh without it catching in the back of my throat; breath without a heaviness in my chest and feel the joy of the holidays without the whispers of 'if only' sneaking their way into my heart.