January 3, 2009

Reflection: Christmas Joy?

What was the most painful part of your first Christmas after Evan died? When were you most aware of your own mourning theme running under the celebration? Did your celebration change because of your loss - either bigger or smaller? Describe your celebration, what you were hoping it would bring and what it actually brought. Also describe moments of hope and joy you may have found.

I think the most painful part of my Christmas was not being able to take a time out for myself and reflect. I am often conflicted with wanting to be around people and then not wanting to be around anyone. We had my family over all day on Christmas. Originally, we were to have brunch with my family and go to Tymon's family in the afternoon. Well, they were snowed in and so my side of the family stayed for dinner, too. It was great to see and be with everyone while at the same time I just wanted to go to my room and take a nap. I couldn't do that though because I wanted to have a Christmas dinner with family. Since I was the hostess and my husband doesn't cook, that meant me spearheading the impromptu dinner.

I was most aware of my mourning while we opened presents. First it was "Evan" giving his brothers a book of his life. I started working on that book the day Evan died. I didn't want to make funeral arrangements, I wanted to go through photos and remember my little boy. I was happy that each member of my family at some point during the day picked up the book to look through it and read it. I want everyone to remember my boy.

Of course our celebration changed because of our loss. We are missing one VERY important person. Amid the chaos that comes when 17 people share a home for the day, it takes effort to think about everyone all the time, including Evan. Perhaps, a quieter Christmas would have given me the opportunity to reflect more. But maybe that would have brought on a lot of sad feelings, too.

Christmas began about 7 am. Jovana woke me up so that we could start making the quiches for brunch. The boys woke up and I made them eat cereal (I didn't want a melt down during the opening of presents). They got Tymon out of bed about 8:30 and we opened presents as a family. Everyone played with toys until about 10:30 or 11 am when the family started arriving. Jovana and I continued to prepare food. My brother couldn't make it up our big hill in the snow so he parked nearby and Tymon took our Durango (with 4 wheel drive) down to pick him and his family and friend up. We ate and talked and played Rock Band 2 and Wii games all afternoon. We opened more gifts from all those that came over. My brother and his friend graciously shoveled nearly 2 feet of snow off of our deck. We began to prepare dinner about 4 pm. I went around asking people what they'd brought for dinner. Of course, it was nothing...they didn't know they were coming for dinner. I asked them what they would've brought had they known. My brother Brett thought he'd bring mashed potatoes...so I put him to work peeling them. JC's friend likes green bean casserole. So, he put that dish together. Katie made a salad. My dad and Jovana made rolls. I made a velvety sweet potato soup. It was a great dinner, especially since we planned it so late in the day and didn't go to the store. Luckily, I had bought a ham a couple of days before. I think the family started leaving about 8 pm and I was pretty tired. The day was pretty packed and I'm glad I didn't have to go anywhere. I was hoping that Christmas would bring family and fun. It did. I hoped it would be relaxing. It wasn't. Evan's headstone was supposed to be finished by Christmas. The weather has delayed it. We are hopeful to have it finished and set in the next couple of weeks.

I found hope and joy in watching each of my children open gifts. It was even fun to watch Jovana take part in the festivities. She is Orthodox and celebrates Christmas in January. She wasn't expecting to get many gifts as it's not customary in her home to get more than a couple. With each one she got, her eyes lit up. She was genuinely surprised and happy for each one. Even the chewing gum in her stocking. The most clever one we did for her was take the photo of her and Tom Cruise and put it into a little New York City skyline frame that Tymon had gotten years ago and never used. What's great about that frame is that it has the Twin Towers in it....can't get that anymore.

I found joy in our white Christmas and the crazy weather we've had. It was fun and exciting to have so much snow that every time we left the house, it was an adventure. Of course, there was a little fear of sliding off the side of the hill while driving, too.

I found joy being with others and loving our new home. It is perfect for entertaining. I am happy that my brother JC brought a friend to share the day with us. I'm glad we have a welcoming family and that we were able to bring a bit of joy to someone who couldn't go home for Christmas.

1 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. Hi Brid,
    I imagine the range of emotions is very draining, especially on Christmas. I love that your mom made the kids another blanket, just like the one that is with Evan. I am looking forward to reading/looking at your book about Evan someday. I love you.


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