Friday, December 26, 2008

all i want(ed) for Christmas

navigating the holidays after you've lost a loved one can be a tricky affair. i felt really prepared for this holiday in the early days of december. gifts were ordered and hidden, cards were created and mailed, singing engagements and parades filled my evenings and weekends. the first twelve days of Christmas were a whirlwind of festive activities.

but much of the past few weeks has been spent with dealing with *things*: preparing my parents house for the arrival of my grandfather, Pop-pop; wrapping the gifts i'd been hiding in my office; tying up loose ends at the hotel so that i could take some time off. *things* that kept me occupied, but not really engaged with anything that was going on around me.

so that when Christmas Eve arrived, i found we were kind of without a plan. what had been our routine over the past many years, was gone. there was no beach rental house for my grandparents and visiting relatives. my parents didn't show up on our doorstep with a gift for jack (even though i HAD cleaned the house!) there was no overly loud, fight-you-for-the-last-bit-of-turkey Christmas dinner planned.

there was an overwhelming urge to sleep, and yes, i did a lot of that. but there was more...

there were hours of Christmas music that soothed.

there was Christmas Eve service with jack singing Silent Night, Holy Night at the top of his clear, sweet voice (and how proud i was that he was able to read along in the hymnal.)

there was soup and a gorgeous loaf of herbed cheese bread i made from scratch.

there was finally peace and quiet.

there were Christmas nachos when we didn't have the inclination to cook the ham.

there was take-out Thai and bonfires and Mad Gab.

and there is a boy who Believes for one more year.


lmerie said...

Oh wow, very touching! Christmas Nachos and Mad Gabs - sounds like you did good! :)

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Lelly, your Christmas is a good reminder that we can plan and prepare, but life takes its own turns without our permission.

I'm glad you've got another believer for another year. He looks so handsome.

I would love to hear the two of you sing Silent Night.

Janiece said...

Death and Birth can truly change the holidays.
I think the most important thing was at the end of all of it you found peace.
I love hearing children sing the Christmas Songs...and Silent Night is a favorite.

rebekah said...

jack is so handsome, i can't get over it.

i commend you for adapting this holiday to fit your needs. i think our loved ones who passed on would rather see us soothe our souls and take care of our present needs than worry about fulfilling every past tradition.

around the holidays each year i wish that my church (LDS) did some kind of midnight service on Christmas Eve. maybe i will join with another congregation next year.

Christmas nachos sound divine...

Alisa said...

I can say I know.
My Nana passed away at the end of October- While we were preparing for her passing, and processing our grief, I started listening to Christmas music. The peace that came from hearing and singing of the joy, wonder, peace and love of Christ's birth filled me.
Our family spoke in church yesterday- and that is what I spoke about. Peace and comfort from Christ, and how music blessed me.
I pray for you to have continued peace and times of stillness, as you experience this, the death of your grandmother.

Missy :o) said...

It must be hard to lose someone so close, especially around such an important family holiday. but, it's great that you are looking at the good things you still enjoy each day. :o)

carlo said...

simple and beautiful, in the end, it sounds like?

i think every holiday with a void is tough but that first one, especially.

how cute does jack look in his little striped tie?

The monkey bunch said...

I have found that Christmas music really helped out this year while my husband was away also. It does bring great peace! I'm glad you did have some peace and some fun.

Chris said...

I am glad you found peace at Christmas. I am glad you enjoyed the time with your family, and listened to Christmas music. This year my grandmother was here, but not, she slipped into a coma on Christmas day. It was a very different Christmas for us. But we still have a couple believers and the light in their eyes was still joy. Hugs to you.

Holly said...

The holidays can be so hard when there have been losses or empty spots. Glad you worked through it and created peace around you.
Love your last line about having a believer for another year.

Becky said...

You did such a great job of summing up all the feelings of your holiday, Lelly...I am glad that you were able to find peace and to enjoy the little things even as some traditions had to go by the wayside.

Beautiful post!

Alisha said...

My heart goes out to you, Lelly. It will certainly be a Christmas to remember . . . if nothing else for its uniqueness. I love that you chronicled the details.

I remember clearly my nine-year old Christmas, when we went out to pizza for Christmas Eve dinner. (My mom is a FABULOUS cook and makes elaborate holiday meals. Her dad was busy dying of cancer that Christmas.)

And what an ending to your post! Hooray Jack!! He's my hero this year, because my London (I think the same age?) has been back-and-forth on me the past couple of months. But he's decidedly grown-up now. sigh.

Amanda :-) said...

Everyone's come up with brilliant thoughts on your post. I have to just agree that you've done very well to adapt to circumstances and differing needs this Christmas rather than trying to adhere rigidly to what is traditional or expected. Jack, as per usual, is looking dapper. I'm so glad he's still a believer as it's suggesting to me that we possibly have another Christmas of Erin believing in that 'magical' side of it (she's 7 in the summer).