Ok, first of all if you haven’t seen the cute thing I did to my website, please go click over there for a second. I’ll wait.
See it? That took two days and a half hour in a support chat. Anyway…
Christmas is tomorrow. I used to hate Christmas, and I really don’t know why. It has always been the hardest part of the year for me, and still is, but the difficulties have lessened with time. You would think it was because of the horrible Christmas in 2006 when my aunt Ka died, but no, this dislike started long before that, around the time I realized Santa was a sham. But little things held me…like doing the whole Xmas thing for my sister when she was born in ’96. I was 13 and already jaded about the holiday, but she made it fun again. Then one day my therapist suggested I come up with a tradition to do each year that I could look forward to. I think she meant like go buy yourself an ornament or make a special cookie, but I went all out and started cooking Christmas dinner every year for my family. With the exception of the dinner during which Ka slipped into a coma, it has always been a joyous affair.
But that is nothing compared to Christmas Eve.
I have never had a Christmas Eve celebration without my Gram. Every year she throws a party (save one year when she had back surgery and my aunt and uncle threw it instead.) It is the best party of the year, as EVERYONE shows up. My Gram has nine children, almost all of whom have kids, and some of those kids have kids. Not to mention the cousins. It’s an event, and one I anticipate every year with great joy.
Now., first of all, my family knew that this year, Christmas was going to suck. We knew it on March 16th, when my Poppa died. It just won’t ever be the same, no matter how you spin it. But then, another wrench thrown into the plans as a pandemic forces us apart. My poor Gram
That’s all I can think of. My Gram.
My other grandmother, Lois, died when I was 7. She lived with us, and my Grandma Pat (henceforth and forever, just Gram) lived on the other side of town, so I didn’t see her much. I do remember though that after Lois died, Gram became a little more present in my life…or maybe I just started developing more memories of her. Either way, she was there, and I was grateful. Especially after so hard a loss.
And now she has had probably the hardest loss of her life, her husband of damn near 70 years.
And, she has to cancel her Christmas party. I would be beside myself.
So, this Christmas Eve looks very different, and it is the first one on which I will not be seeing Gram. I am comforted by the fact she is coming to my dinner however, which is a much smaller affair than years previous, when I would invite anyone who didn’t already have plans.
Usually, at this time on this day, I am rushing to finish last minute details. But there are no cookies to bake this year. The gifts have been purchased and wrapped for almost a month. Cards sent some time ago. I had much time on my hands this Christmas, so I got ahead of myself. Now, all I have to do today is prep a casserole and make a coleslaw. Then tonight I will be going to my parents to have a Christmas drink with them. Then home, to bed, to anticipate the following day.
I think the reason I don’t dwell on the death of Ka on Christmas anymore is because of my family. Not just my Gram, whom I adore, but my aunts and uncles and cousins who I get to see each Christmas, and it takes me back to when we were kids again. But my family…they are the ones that were there when Ka left. Take my aunt Mary…the night Ka died, she was right there, holding my hair back as I threw up my gourmet Christmas dinner at the news that Ka would be leaving us. She stepped into that aunt role even deeper after Ka died, in the same way Gram did after Lois passed. Or my cousin Katie. We were best friends as kids, and grew apart in some ways, as people do when they get older. But the night Ka died, she took Bern to her house and let her spend the night…she was there for my sister when I could not be. These are just two people out of like 45, each of whom I have a story about illustrating their love. I will miss them tonight.
But I look forward to tomorrow, which I something that in my youth I dared not dream of. I look forward to opening presents with my parents and sister and husband. I look forward to cooking dinner for Gram. I’m even looking forward to my Christmas outfit, complete with…makeup! Gasp! (I gave up makeup for Corona the way you give up chocolate for Lent.)
Anyway, I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday. Hold the people you love close to you, even if they are a world apart at the moment. Love with your whole heart, and hope for a better tomorrow.
PS 920 words. My finger is killing me.