What is there to say that hasn’t been said yet? I miss my husband every minute of every day. My boys miss their father, his presence, his help, his counsel, his willingness to listen, to work things through with them, to play with them, everything he did with them. And when special days come around, days that were so big in our lives, there’s a big hole in those special days.
Yesterday I was crazy busy, I started cooking as soon as I finished eating breakfast, and didn’t stop until the evening. My mom was here all day, my dad joined us after work, my brother and sister in law came and spent the night, and a good friend came with her children to spend Christmas Eve with us. I cooked and cooked, I cleaned, I showered and cooked some more. I didn’t stop for a second, I kept going, even if I could have stopped, I refused to stop, stopping would mean thinking and I was trying to not think about anything. The day went okay enough, with people here all the time, the rushing around and my refusal to allow my brain to do anything but be in the present, in the minute, to not let it wonder to what “should be”, not what is.
There was a totally unexpected knock on the door, and a total stranger, who is a friend of friends of mine, came by to wish the boys and I a good Christmas and to bring us a little something to help celebrate. That act of kindness, so unexpected, once again showed me that so many who don’t even know us, are keeping us in their thoughts this special and hard to get through time of year. I also had countless messages, emails, texts, Facebook messages, the love was pouring from all around us. There were little things left at our door, and in the mailbox, the show of love and support was all around us.
The boys spirits were up, they were happy that family and friends were coming, they were happy being with said family and friends, seeing them happy, made me happy as well. But when everyone was in bed except my mom and I, and the friends had left, we went down to get the presents from the basement. Seeing my mom coming up the stairs with carrying gifts, was the trigger to turn off the denial/rush/high/everything else I had been carrying all day. All of the sudden I felt my heart shrink, very tiny, very sad, because she should not be the one coming up the stairs with presents, Aires should have to be the one doing that. After that I was done. But I was also so exhausted, by the time I finally went to bed at 2am, my brain wasn’t even making proper connections to reality.
This morning the boys woke me up, I came down by myself to set things up, to get ready for them. The video camera was running by itself, there was no one managing it, I don’t even know what the video looks like because it just kept going and when I looked at it again it had run out of battery and turned itself off. I took pictures, as I usually do, I tried to be peppy and happy like I usually am, I don’t think I pulled it off as well as I think I did. I just couldn’t pull it together today. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, it was never supposed to be like this. We were never supposed to have a life without a complete family. We were never supposed to have one of the four ripped out without the rest of us having a say so, a chance at fighting to keep him, a chance at trying to keep us as four, not three, that was never the plan. For as hard as I tried, I was sad, and it showed, and the boys then were a little off too. It was obvious to me, maybe not to others, but they were not their happy peppy selves while opening presents either. How could we be happy, there’s just no real happy anymore. There are a lot of happy moments, and we don’t walk around sad and depressed, I think we all feel okay most of the time, but there is just no more fully happy anything. In the back of all our heads, in our hearts, there is a sadness that will never leave, an emptiness that can’t be filled. Completely happy is not achievable anymore.
We continued our traditions however, I told the boys we would continue to celebrate like we always have. I think having kept our lives the same ever since the accident has been a huge help for them to stay adjusted and being as strong and confident as they have been. So we stayed home Christmas Eve, we opened presents Christmas morning, we had matching pajamas, we had a late brunch which I don’t start cooking until all the presents are opened and all the pictures are taken. We stayed in pajamas all day, we ate leftovers for dinner and though the boys ended up not having time to do their gingerbread houses yesterday, they did them today.
We also started some new traditions, a few weeks ago, all three of us went to Hallmark and picked an ornament to put in daddy’s stocking. Today, once everyone had left, we took it out, opened it and Jake put it on the tree. We have decided that every year we’ll get a new ornament to celebrate/remember daddy, and eventually when there are enough, we will get a small tree to put these special ornaments. This year we chose a beautiful butterfly, Josh found it, and we all agreed that it was a good ornament to start our new tradition. We also talked about it, and decided that this year we should make everything (food wise) that daddy liked, or that was his favorite. We had a lot of daddy’s favorites, and Jake who is still a very picky eater, made sure to try a tiny bit of each, even if he didn’t like it.
Josh sat at the head of the table across from me, he took daddy’s place. He was very proud to sit in that chair. Josh loves to do everything daddy did, wear what daddy wore, do some of the things daddy did, I believe this is how he without even realizing is keeping daddy alive in himself. He is very protective of everything that was daddy’s, or daddy liked, or anything that has to do with daddy. I wanted to take a picture of Josh sitting at the head of the table, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I also didn’t take any pictures of all of us together at the table, as I usually do, and I did take a group picture with everyone by the tree this morning, but not because I wanted to, because it’s what I should do. I didn’t want to admit, or even document the fact that Aires wasn’t here. Talk about a roller coaster couple of days. It’s all been building up to today, and all I can say is, I survived the day, like I have any other, one step at a time, one minute at a time, one task at a time with a lot of denial mixed in the middle.
My wonderful friends came through for us again today, lots and lots of messages, so much comfort comes from all the different people reaching out. There were also a couple of sweet things dropped off at our door, it always warms up my heart and brings a smile to my face, and I feel an embrace of love. There was one little gift, so beautiful, personal and just beyond anything I could have even imagined, it made me feel so many emotions, from the love of my friend who thought of something so beautiful and meaningful to give me, to how much I miss Aires, but have to keep going no matter what, quitting is not an option, falling apart is not an option. It was almost like a kick in the butt, it’s like it was telling me, to go ahead and be off today, be sad, I’m allowed, but then I need to pick up and keep going. The “you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” really resonated today. This one made my cry, I had to take a few minutes to go upstairs and let the tears out. I needed that hard cry today.
Christmas is finished, I’m still here, he’s still not, life still goes on. It’s not ideal, it’s not what it was supposed to be, but it is what it is.