The Elephant And The Holidays
I made it pretty well through Thanksgiving. Bri visited for the week from Chicago. We had a simple meal from a restaurant that we warmed up for our meal. It was great to have some of the family together and we did our traditional FaceTime with those who couldn’t be with us.
Then, the elephant showed up on a random Sunday morning a couple of weeks later when I was playing at my church. It took its trunk and chucked me into the wall behind me. At least, that’s how it felt.
I was wearing the shirt I wore to play Christmas Eve services last year. Minutes before our second service, I realized that I was wearing that shirt the last time Pete was at church. I looked at Pete’s chair, took a deep breath, then finished out the service.
Afterwards, though, I gave the moment some more time, space, and tears. I remembered all the details of the day. Our pastor came over to talk to us where Pete always sat, one row back and two seats in. That way, when I was done playing, I could come sit by him although his preference was always the aisle seat. I stayed for just a few moments as rehearsal was about to start but the pastor and Pete spoke for a while longer. As soon as the service was over, we had to leave as he was not feeling well and had over-extended himself.
I don’t feel like this is a revelation to many but the holidays and loss suck. I have said very often that we had three more Christmases after Pete’s diagnosis. I am so grateful for that. We packed those holidays with so many wonderful memories.
The flipside is, though, that I don’t have this Christmas with Pete. And sometimes that elephant is all I can think about. There are some things that I know to be true. There are some things that I still struggle with. And there are just times when all of this really sucks.
I am so blessed to have you all in my community, and I appreciate being able to be honest and vulnerable with you all. I’m not going to say anything that I haven’t said before, especially in the line of what to do and not do in grief. I definitely don’t have it all figured out. I do know that I’m going to wear my shirt tomorrow night, go to church, take a picture by the Christmas tree, then wish my life was different. I’ll be present and enjoy the time Mia, Seb, and I will have to hang out with Bri and Kieran for a couple of days. We will get on a family FaceTime and interrupt each other and be way too loud, like we always do. I’ll spend some time at other events with friends and family. I’ll be grateful for the life and memories I had with Pete. And I’ll miss him being here.