Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but not for the commercialism, food, or festive ways it’s thrown at us. I’ve always loved the holiday for the time I have been able to spend with family, the traditions I grew up with, and because of my faith. Knowing my family was together and making memories has always been the best gift to me.
Christmas was NOT my husband’s favorite holiday, but he grew to like it very much when we got married. We would celebrate with my family. He even got to the point he would take our children Black Friday shopping. He would get VERY excited about mapping out what stores they would go to together and where they would stop for breakfast or coffee. He always found great deals, but his joy at taking our children out with him was better than any deal he ever found.
This will be our third Christmas without my husband.
On our first Christmas I felt uncertain but ended up keeping our original plans. My children and I spent the holiday with my family out of town. It turned out to be the best thing for us to do, even though we were quiet and numb the whole day while the rest of my family was jovial. They understood and gave us the space we needed. They always have, and for that we are incredibly grateful.
Our second Christmas was also with family, but we didn’t have to travel out of town.
I didn’t have to worry about decorating again, which was good because I just didn’t have the energy to do so. We made it through the day more easily than the previous year, but still missing my husband intensely.
This year, we will be celebrating Christmas at my house.
My children are once again excited about the holiday and the fact that family will be coming to us. Since my children are old enough and want to do it, they will be the ones to decorate. I enjoy seeing the decorations, and I don’t mind that they will be put up this year, but I still do not have the desire to do any decorating. I realize that’s ok, and my family understands, too. On Christmas we’ll have family with us, exchange a few gifts, and share a meal together. New memories will be made, but there will still be a void. I’ll start a new tradition this year of lighting a candle for my husband on Christmas as we move through the day.
Since my husband took his life, every holiday has become different.
There is an emptiness that cannot be filled, but as we move further out from our loss, we realize that the time we had with my husband was truly a gift. Time is also a gift in that it has offered me and my children the opportunity to learn ways to cope with our loss, move forward, and work on healing. We are no longer numb and disengaged with life around us. We are rediscovering activities and making new memories. We understand that by continuing to live our lives, we are honoring him in the process.
My husband will always be missed, and the constant presence of his absence reminds us that he will not celebrate another holiday with us in this realm again. We also know, though, that he will never truly be gone, for he lives on in our hearts and minds.