I struggled to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I tried. And then I tried some more, it just never came. I felt like I was just going through the motions without ever feeling the love and joy that comes with this time of year. I normally love Christmas.
Decorations were put up. Pageants were attended. Annual traditions were carried out. Presents were bought and wrapped. The Christmas card actually got out before Christmas day (with a few stragglers still needed to be sent).
I even wanted to write an upbeat Christmas post here, but it somehow seemed too false for a space that I can be totally honest with my feelings and thoughts. I was painfully jealous of all the happy posts I read in my regular blogs. Fa la freaking la repeatedly passed through my mind (often with another F word inserted).
For the most part, the kids did have a great time and we're still only half way through Christmas vacation. The boys, especially A, were so appreciative of all their gifts and really sweet. The girls were, well, the girls. They are definitely their parents' children and never seem quite pleased with what they got and like to point out what the didn't get (Jeanne used to do that every year). We tend to give them a break because of their circumstances, but it's still obnoxious and not behavior we want modeled for the boys, especially L.
The fact of the matter is Jeanne and Mike aren't here and that's what is really missing. Holidays highlight all of the ways our family is still broken. Seeing the little girls with CA is especially awful. I don't think I'm ever going to be okay with it.
We all cling to the traditions we have always had as a family...Christmas Eve mass at my parents' church with dinner back at our house (used to be a Jeanne's)...opening presents at my folks' Christmas morning with the same jokes by the brother-in-laws with coffee cake and sausage breakfast bake. The problem is, that doing the same things only emphasize who's not there and how the pieces of our greater family are scrambled.
So I've spent the last week just getting through. Dealing with the girls has required an enormous amount of patience. At the same time, I've tried hard to be present for the boys and fake some Christmas joy and fun.
Common wisdom says that time heals all things. Three years out, I don't think we're ever going to "get over" losing Jeanne and Mike and the impact it's had on our family and relationships. I think the best we can do is keep moving forward and learn to live in our new reality with as much love and joy we can muster. It's harder to do this on some days and unfortunately that still tends to be holidays.