We are only a few days away from Christmas! Can you believe it?
I can’t help but think about my first Christmas after Tyler passed away when this time of year rolls around again. I still had not be able to come out of the fog of grief completely by Christmas that first year and I wasn’t sure how I would be able to go anywhere without making people uncomfortable or being miserable myself trying to ruin everyone’s celebration with my grief. Truth be told, even though it had been just five months since Tyler passed, I already felt like I had to curb my public displays of grief and talking about Tyler. By the time Christmas was rolling around I was exhausted for numerous reasons and just couldn’t imagine that I would have enough energy to make it through a “normal” Christmas where everyone is happy and enjoying their loved ones. There was a very real possibility that I would end up crying at memories of past Christmases with Tyler and have my solo status magnified as I watched all the couples exchange gifts. I didn’t want this to happen, the sad looks and comments just made me cry more or feel guilty for bringing that kind of sadness into their holiday celebration. So, I stayed home alone. Well, I had my dogs. They had been my constant companions from day one. It was easy to cry with them and just feel however I felt at the time, they didn’t seem to mind. Even in their silence they gave me some of the only comfort I could find at times.
Yes, I was sad that Christmas. I opened presents alone. I put up Christmas lights on the house by myself. But that was nothing new, I had done that every year due to Tyler’s busy schedule. I put up a little Christmas tree. I was glad to make it through and get to the other side of Christmas. I don’t really remember what I did besides that. I think I still had some school work to do and I think I just hermited. But, I never regretted it. It was a healing time and it was a relief to be able to just do what I felt I needed to do.
I look back now and I am SO grateful to be happy today. There was a time where I just wished that the pain would go away and I yet I couldn’t imagine what my life would look like where I could be happy again! It just took time and a lot of work to get there. But it was a time full of growth and as time went on there was more laughter, more happiness and I began to become comfortable in my new life.
This year, I am looking forward to Christmas and have an amazing partner to celebrate with. But I will never forget what it was like that first Christmas. Every year since that Christmas I have always thought of those that are going through that “first” Christmas and my heart goes out to them. I wish I could reach out and encourage them to just keep going…To just do whatever feels right to you and make it to that new year…To fan the flame of hope in your heart that still exists and surround yourself with supportive people…To make 2014 a year of rediscovery and remember you have the power within yourself to make your life into whatever you can imagine. And Never Give Up.