Just can't get super christmas-y this year. December is the worst month, really. Jen's birthday AND Christmas. We are supposed to be full of joy and etc. There is some joy here and there, but it's covered with the heavy blanket of grief. I haven't heard too much christmas music yet. I got put on hold the other day and the music playing was Nat King Cole singing something Christmas-y. It was a bit of a shock, like it felt way too early to actually be Christmas. The weather is too warm and dry. My job keeps me to busy to focus on the holidays. We aren't doing lights or a tree as we will be out of town. And Jen only died a few days ago.
Wait, I mean almost 8 months ago.
No Christmas cards this year. I just can't bring myself to even consider it. I can only put on so much of a poker face at work and with friends. I might drop a note here and there to those who I only write to at Christmas but that's about it.
Kurt and I were planning Christmas stuff, what to buy for family members, travel plans, etc. He seemed surprised that I wasn't more excited as Christmas is one of my favorite things. I explained that it's a fucked up Christmas this year. He was shocked by my answer and then I realized that he may have forgotten for a moment what had happened because he asked "why?" Because my sister is dead. It's okay, I'm glad he doesn't know how this feels, I don't want anyone to have to know how this feels. It sucks,to put it most ridiculously mildly. Other people move on and forget. It makes sense. No one wants to think about how it might feel if their sister (or brother or mother or father or son or daughter) died. No one.
I remember once being with Jen when we were much younger, I was probably in college and Grace might not have been born yet. We were driving through a shopping mall, maybe Stanford, and talking about life. I think we were both getting to that age where you don't feel so immortal, or at least you start to think about your parents not being immortal. We were talking about what it might be like when mom dies, way way way in the future. I think we both realized if we kept talking about it, we would get choked up and so we changed the subject.
It's just too much to think about.
So I don't get mad that people don't remember what I've been through, I don't want them to. All I want to do is apologize to my friends who have lost family members over the years. I want to apologize for being insensitive and for moving on and not letting you know that I think about you often and wish you didn't have to go through what you went through and what you are going through, even years later, what you will go through for the rest of your lives as you adjust to that family member not being there. It sucks. I'm with you and I'm sorry I couldn't have been there more for you.
I just sat down to start figuring out what to get for everyone and Jen's not on my list.
The idea of officially grieving for a year or at the very least, expecting to grieve for a year, is so true and necessary. The year of events and holidays and birthdays is hard and sad and tough. Her birthdays is coming up too.
2009 can not come soon enough. The grief will never end, just change, but there is something about getting out of this horrible year that makes me feel better.
It's about 12:30am on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and I'm in our hotel room in Hurst Texas, listening to James Taylor singing Auld Lang Syne and it's sweet and melancholy. Tomorrow we'll open presents and eat a lamb roast with Kurt's family, then probably play a bit of Wii.
For right this moment, I'm basking in the twinkly lights of my little virtual christmas tree (that's a screen grab of it) and watching the digital snow fall across my monitor. I'm enjoying a few moments just for me before going to sleep. I'm going to click over to Cute Overload and icanhascheezburger as my holiday treat.
I learned this from my favorite dictionary: Urban Dictionary.
Their definition and an example:
The day before Christmas Eve. Since Adam was created before Eve, and the need to be equitable in the holiday season, Christmas Adam creates further anticipation of Christmas Day.
When is your family coming to our place?
On Christmas Adam and leaving New Year's Day.
Christmas Adam is the last chance to prepare for the Christmas Eve party.
I love the holidays, the lights, the cool weather, the music, the shopping (I do mine early) and the giving. The mail is much more fun this time of year as well with all the holiday cards that come. But here is where I get a bit scroogey: It annoys me that so many people send holiday photo cards and don't write one thing on them. I imagine all these people out there thinking, "Oh god, we have to have our cutest kids out there for holiday cards!!" So they take a photo of the darling little ones and then send that photo to shuttefly or costco or where ever and have 40 jillion made then address envelopes with pre printed address labels then shove them all in the post box and whew, we followed the rules and sent out proof of how christmasy we are.
Often times we get cards from people who live far away and who we talk to or email only a few times a year. Since the communications are not many, I would appreciate even just a "Dear Kurt and Julia, Happy Christmas! Love XXXXXXX" Our electrician, cat sitter and yard crew wrote more on their holiday cards to us than some of our oldest friends. Somehow that just doesn't seem quite right.
I would rather get no card at all during the holidays than this "everyone does it, we can't fall behind the Joneses" type of non-communicative communication. Call me old fashioned (YOU'RE OLD FASHIONED!) but a holiday greeting card should have some kind of personalization to it -- I mean AT LEAST SIGN YOUR FREAKIN' NAMES!!
Here endeth my holiday rant.
Merry Christmas otherwise!
Over the weekend while out running errands, I kept seeing people driving with Christmas trees on their cars, on the way home to start decorating. I saw kids in driveways, hopping up and down, waiting for dad to unload the tree. It made me smile and it made me a little wistful as we won't be having a tree this year. There is a lot of travel for us around the holidays and Christmas itself will be in Texas with Kurt's family.
We've had plenty of years without a tree as we have not spent Christmas the same way since we've been married. The first year we were married, we ran the Honolulu marathon in the middle of December, with a week of recovery (for me) and fun on Maui afterward, then we went to Texas for Christmas. The following year we might have had a small tree as we were home for Christmas, then left immediately afterward for a month's trip to Italy and Portugal for our honeymoon. The year after that was probably Texas, etc etc.
I think because this year we are both focused far outside of ourselves (aside from the plumbing) and onto other members of our families, I felt a stronger yearning to have a tree and to put lights up outside. Watching those cars loaded with trees humming along was a reminder to be patient. I did put a wreath outside the front door last week, and yesterday I thought about getting a poinsettia or two, but decided against it as we are only going to be here another week.
Around 3 yesterday afternoon our neighbor, Janet, came by with a Christmas card and a poinsettia for us. After thanking her with a big hug, I thanked the guardian angel in charge of hearing my gentle wishes for just a little more Christmas at home.