This was a bittersweet Christmas. That's not to say that it wasn't a good one because it was lovely to spend the day with family - even though I got incredibly SICK after breakfast. I would have preferred to be able to spend the entire day feeling good, but I've been okay since around four o'clock this afternoon so I can't really complain. Besides, it's a sickness for a reason that I'm oh-so-thankful to experience.
My son has been excitedly talking about Christmas for weeks. He points out every Santa, Snowman, and Baby Jesus that we see - an unusual trinity to be sure, but at least he correctly identified one member. He absolutely enjoyed himself today and he basked in the loving attention of his grandparents. Of course, he made out like a bandit and I've never seen such an impressive haul of presents for one child.
I know it's naive, but I thought that by totally focusing on my son, I wouldn't miss my loved ones who are gone. My son's joy was almost enough to make me forget my sadness. Almost.
There's a deep pain that I ignored until I sat down to reflect on my day in this post. Today was painfully strange because this was my first Christmas without a brother. I have no brother. I'm without a sibling who I've had in my life since I was born. He's been gone for over 3 1/2 months and somehow I still expected to talk with him today.
The meal was delicious, the dishes are washed, the gifts were opened, and the trash is thrown away. Life seems normal, but I'm very aware that this new reality feels abnormal. They say that the first holiday season without a loved one is the hardest. And I can verify that it is.
I hope that you spent Christmas with your loved ones. If you're separated from loved ones because of bad feelings, consider extending the olive branch. You lose nothing by trying to make peace and you may regain a loved one. Life is too short to squander time, spend it with your loved ones.
Merry Christmas from me and mine to you and yours.