Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Reflections 2019

Christmas gifts have been purchased, wrapped and unwrapped. Food has been purchased cooked and eaten. Children big and small have spent the day engrossed in new and interesting endeavors. Now I sit quietly contemplating precious decorations which adorn the tree which were made by my own children and grandchildren. A small glittery bell made from construction paper contains a photo of Damien when he was about 7. Who knew that this small creation would be one of the things I treasure so much? This is his work, he cut and pasted and put glitter on it and glued the picture in place. His little hands busily making something for the Christmas tree and proudly presenting to us, his parents. How could I have known the value of such a small thing he made. But now many things he did have become treasures. His school notebooks, his poetry scribbled in his own hand as his thoughts were penned to paper. Moments in his life so random but so special and of course we have treasured our memories.

Getting through Christmas for me is to throw myself into the tasks needing to be addressed; to create a day for the family to enjoy, staying busy, without bringing everyone down on this day of all days. Nobody has forgotten our loss and deserve to revel in this moment and create new memories around the space where Damien should be - with us - in our lives. Living with loss means we prioritize our needs and manage expectations which are adjusted and re-adjusted as the occasion dictates.  It is not black & white, easy vs hard.  It is living with loss and learning how to cope around it.
It’s easier said than done and took many years of baffled confusion to reach some understanding of this other life, one foot in the present and one foot firmly in the past. It is an ongoing struggle which you can choose to lose yourself in or try to make the best of it and hold yourself and what is left of your family together, for them, just for Christmas at least.

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