Christmas has come and gone, and it was yet another milestone I was terrified to overcome, but guess what? I did it.
I was a little bit worried about my youngest nephew because he was pretty sick Christmas Eve, but he woke up Christmas morning excited as can be, and made Christmas morning magical. I wasn’t sure if we were going to have time this year to open all of his gifts because he is the type of little boy who likes to rip one tiny piece of paper off at a time. He’s not quite two years old, but he still had so much joy each time he opened a gift. I love it when he looks at something and just says Wow! Thank you, Jay Jay, for making Auntie smile multiple times yesterday.
So how did I feel my first Christmas without Nick? Well, the truth is this; sometimes I think the milestones are easier than other days. Here’s why. The milestones you expect a little bit of sadness, a little bit of emptiness, maybe even a lot, but you expect it to be less than easy, and when the day arrives, and it’s beautiful, it’s a relief.
The days leading up to the milestones, however, are sometimes full of anxiety because we worry so much about not being able to survive such pain. We constantly think about “what if’s,” and the “this time last year’s,” it’s self-sabotage as far as I am concerned, but we are all guilty of it.
I thought a lot about last year. I thought about the photo’s that we took in the bitter cold; the one too many hot tub drinks we had, and the snuggles Nick and I shared Christmas morning before we got up. I thought about how well Nick fit into my family like he was meant to be with us all along and wondered why we were only blessed with three Christmas’s with him. I thought about how painfully obvious it is when he’s not around because he was always the life of the party. Nick was not quiet by any means, so when he isn’t around, everyone feels it.
I thought so much about all that had changed in just one year. I know we see those memes on social media that remind us how quickly things can change and how we must appreciate what we have now. I see these memes, and I wonder how many people just skip right past them not really realizing that this is the Universe telling us to pull our heads out of our ass and take a look around.
I am guilty of it too, but every now and then, put your phone down, look up and take a breath. While you’re breathing, look around and see what you have. Do this until you can identify at least one person, experience, or feeling that you can be grateful for.
Tangible items don’t count 😉
There have been so many times this year that I have wanted to stay in bed under the overs and forget about all that exists outside my window. Life wasn’t fair, and I wanted no part of it. I didn’t want to see others happy, I didn’t want to see people with their little ones, and I certainly didn’t want to see happy couples.
Thank god this didn’t last long. I have so many people to thank for that, and you know who you are. I have already lost so much, why on earth would I want to miss out on what I have left?
Yesterday was my first Christmas without Nick and instead of spending the day sad and miserable because I lost him, I enjoyed those I had left.
I spent the day with my parents and my brother’s family. The same people I spend Christmas with every single year. The same people who have picked me up so many times when I have fallen and the same people who have loved me for every ounce of who I am through the good, great, and the ugly.
I spent the day with my handsome and hilarious nephews and enjoyed every minute of it. There is nothing I love more than watching baby Jay Jay’s face light up when he figures out a new toy, or when he giggles, and the sound of it is so contagious.I love my middle nephew’s stories and unique explanations of nearly everything. We missed him this year as he was at his Dad’s, but I am so grateful for inheriting him as a nephew through my brother’s marriage. I love the constant back and forth banter between my oldest nephew and I and I love the quality time that he still enjoys with his crazy aunt.
I am so lucky.
I am not saying this Christmas was easy, and I missed Nick just as much as I do every single day. I miss him during every holiday, every road trip home, every trip to the store, every dinner, and every bed time. I miss Nick during all aspect of my life, but as I have mentioned many times before, I can miss Nick while at the same time enjoying my new normal. Although with that said, I still have no idea what my new normal is going to be, and Santa didn’t bring me the answers that I so kindly asked for. Begged for as a matter of fact. 😉
Change is hard, but it’s required to fulfill all of our dreams, and I intend on continuing to make baby steps toward an enormous life change; whatever that may be ;).
I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas filled with love and laughter and really good food. I hope everyone was able to see the beauty in Christmas and didn’t stress too much over the details and logistics. I hope everyone has thought long and hard about the new year and how they intend on investing in themselves fully in order to make “YOU” the best version of yourself. I hope we can all find away to put the disappointment and pain of 2016 behind us and work towards a new and brighter year.
I am scared to say that 2017 will be my year and full of opportunity because I thought that about 2016, and it was nothing short of a disaster for me. I am scared to say 2017 will be better but much like every night I go to bed; I have to believe that although today was ok, tomorrow will be better and if it’s not I will hope that the next day will be.
2016 was so incredibly difficult, but 2017 will be better.
To my widow friends, I thought about each and every one of your loved one’s yesterday, and I thought about each and every one of YOU. I love seeing the photos of you and your families, and although I can see the pain behind your smile, I can also see a warrior and I admire all of you.
“Having experienced the depths of gut-wrenching grief, I exult in the exquisiteness of joy”- Meryl Hershey Beck-
Merry Christmas everyone.