About a week or so ago, my mom found this great quote from a much older widowed lady who was featured in a photography / interview project on a website called "Humans of New York." She saved the quote for me because she thought it sounded exactly like something that Don would have said to me, if his death wasn't sudden, and if he had the chance. It is this:
"When my husband was dying, I said to him, 'Moe, how am I supposed to go on without you?' He said to me, 'Take the love that you have for me, and spread it around.'"
... Christmas, that is.
I won't lie to you, the week before Christmas, I was not feeling great. The weight of another Christmas without Greg weighed heavily on my mind.
I missed him.
I know I miss him every day, but last week I really missed him.
I missed sitting on the couch and snuggling, watching the lights on the tree flicker.
I missed talking to him about everything.
I missed his strong arms.
I missed his safe embrace.
I missed seeing the kids play with him.
I even missed seeing him stuck under a piece of machinery, tinkering away for hours on end.
...... of Christmas Past.
I know that most of you out there wish this day was just an ordinary day. Just the 25th day of December, no more, no less.
Actually, I know that most of you wish that you could've fallen asleep around December 22nd or so and stayed asleep until January 2nd. Or February 15th.
I get that.
All too well.
So, eight years ago this past Sunday, December 18th, Don Shepherd got down on one knee on a freezing cold night, in front of hundreds of cheering tourists, underneath the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and said, among many other things: "Kelley, in the middle of the best city in the world and with all these people watching, at the biggest tree in the world and because you love Christmas so much, will you be my best friend forever and ever and marry me and be my wife? Please?" I screamed yes as the tears froze to my face, and he slid the engagement ring on my finger, right over my mittens. Then we called our family and friends from the city, told them everything, and sat in a nearby cafe drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and looking across the table into the eyes of our future. But that future never came. Death took it away.Read more
I am finding it hard to find any Christmas spirit this year.
I have no idea if I have bought the children presents that they will enjoy... just a couple of small gifts to keep up the pretense of Santa.
I have not sent a Christmas card in years ... they remind me too much of all those funeral "thank you" cards that sat on my dining room table and mocked me for months after Greg's death before I threw the lot of them in the bin and decided I just wasn't going to do it and if anyone was offended, tough luck.
Blessings to you, during this difficult time of year for many of us.
I've handled Christmas pretty well since Ian died. Partly as we'd not really developed/embedded traditions before he passed, partly because I have a very young child who I want to experience and have memories of the childhood magic and joy of the season.
So I bring you my Christmas Eve musing...
So, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and I write here on this blog each and every Friday. Except that I don't. In actuality, in order for the blog to go live on Friday, midnight Pacific time, that means my writing deadline is 3 am on the East Coast, the night before Friday morning. Last night. Now you know all the ins- and -outs of the widowed publishing blog world. Riveting, isn't it?
Believe it or not, there is a reason I'm telling you all of this, and it's not to bore you into a deep, deep sleep. I'm telling you this fascinating tale, because it's now 9:30am east coast time on Friday morning, and here I sit, post-Thanksgiving day, furiously typing this piece and hoping that Soaring Spirits and Michele don't finally realize how unorganized and forgetful I really am, and kick me out of this exclusive widowed writing club that I came into kicking and screaming in the first place. Bad Widow!
Last week I called Veronica and offered to write her post this week...seeing as it is Thanksgiving and she was going to have just given birth...I thought she *may* be a bit busy! (She, and her big loving family, welcomed a baby boy on Monday. Bayor Matthias weighed in at 9lb 15oz, he measured 20 inches long...and he is absolutely gorgeous!)
Initially I thought I'd share some Thanksgiving words of comfort for those of you who are missing your love desperately today. I just wanted to tell you that it is okay to feel bitter today, and that feeling awash in bitterness today won't mean that you will feel bitter forever.
...... is not something I have felt a lot these past almost-6 years.
I mean, I've felt it for a few things, like my children, my family and friends who were there for me when I really needed them.
But it was beyond difficult to feel thankful, while at the same time not believing that Jim was dead.
But this year ...... this year is different.
These are the things I'm thankful for, even in the midst of missing him every single day:
It had been nearly six months since Dave died and Christmas was coming, whether I cared about it or not. I got home and the driveway was full of familiar cars, the house lit up like Vegas.
Waiting inside were many of my closest girlfriends and a house decorated for Christmas; music, candles, food and a perfect Christmas tree ready to decorate. Each woman (and many who couldn't physically be there), presented me with an ornament to put on my tree. Each ornament had some personal meaning.
It's this tree that I pulled out and slowly reassembled the other day, picking up each ornament and finding just the right spot for it on my tree.