Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Baby steps

The day before New Year's Eve marked six months since Jim died. I'm still in that phase of "... a year ago, we ..." and I assume that will continue for six months more.

Thanks to my dear family, I made it through the holidays without too much trouble or too many breakdowns. It was hard, of course, and there were days that I honestly didn't think I could put one foot in front of the other. But I did, and I continue to do so.

Christmas was difficult mainly in anticipation and in retrospect. The day itself was filled with watching the grandkids open gifts, lots of laughter and fun, and a delicious meal with my sister and brother-in-law, to which I was accompanied by my oldest son.

Decorations in my home were muted. Jim & I had a tradition (that he first participated in very reluctantly!) of having family and friends over to decorate. This year, I had a few lights and a rosemary bush, which managed to look festive - almost in spite of me. I had done most of my shopping throughout the year, so there was no real rush to get things done "in time," and I resumed making Christmas cookies - which I had foregone last year - with the help of my two local grandkids. I think I will try to make that a new tradition - including them - since I think it's important to remember and honor the past while moving ahead with what feels right for my future.
Addison and Ada take roses to Grandpa.

Drew singing Christmas songs for Grandpa.
The week before Christmas, my granddaughter accompanied me to Jim's grave to lay a wreath and sing Christmas songs, and the Monday before, Jim's granddaughter and my grandson went with me to take roses to him. I feel so fortunate that they were happy and willing participants in this activity, and I like to think that Jim was looking on with the special smile and tenderness that he reserved for those he loved.

In retrospect, although I had a wonderful Christmas, received a few delightful gifts - more, really, than I wanted or needed - and treasure each memory, there has been a keen sense of not having that special gift from that special person. Jim always paid attention throughout the year to my passing comments or things that he thought I would enjoy doing or having, and my gifts from him always reflected that. It is, I suppose, the universal loss for the one who is left behind. And, of course, I missed surprising him with carefully chosen gifts.

So, the year in which my beloved last lived has ended. There are new things ahead, and I find that I'm feeling more anticipation for what the year might bring than I was even a few days ago. I fully expect to continue to have both good days and bad, and I'm sure that grief will continue to sneak up on me from time to time - as it did when I sat down to write this - but I also know that I was blessed to be loved by a wonderful man, and that knowledge sustains me every day.