It's quiet here this morning chez A, which is a marked contrast from last night at my Aunt's. I think that I have the loudest family in the entire universe. Prolly everyone thinks that, don't they?
Christmas is different this year . . . and I am glad that I have this quiet time this morning, because I find that I am far sadder than I thought I might be. I have been doing my best to be merry and bright this season, and I was doing pretty well (I didn't get a degree in theatre for nothing) until the past few days; but, as Christmas became imminent, so did an underlying feeling of sadness.
Christmas is different this year . . . This afternoon I will go to my cousin's house, and we will remember her brother, my cousin Jimmy. There will be a healing ceremony of candles, and new Christmas traditions will be started, and it will be good - good for us all.
Christmas is different this year . . . because of last year. Last year we were having a really great Christmas - until about 3 o'clock, when we found Jimmy on the floor of his home. Back in June, when his ashes were laid to rest, I wrote this:
I truly believe that when we go, it's our time - it means that our work here is done, but I've had a difficult time reconciling that this time for a 41-year-old. I think, how could his work be done? And yet, it must have been. We (as in my large extended family) all miss his wry sense of humor, his flashing grin - he was a brother, a son, a cousin, a nephew, and an uncle. We all miss him every day and we wonder why he's gone, and we hold his light in our hearts so he will not be forgotten - it's there, in a safe place, in each of us. In the time between his passing and tomorrow, a baby has been born who was named after him, and my family bought a star. I like to think it's the second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning . . .
Christmas is different this year . . . I am thinking of him today and how it is a year since he has been gone - and how his death has changed us all. I've written this before, but it bears repeating: I believe that the old custom of a year of mourning has merit - you run the gauntlet getting through that year of "firsts" without a loved one. After that, in my experience, if you allow it, time (which truly is the great healer) begins to soothe somehow and you are able to make a place in your heart to put all the emotions that surround a loss of this magnitude. You don't forget, you don't "get over it." What you do, is you make that place in your heart so you can live again, because you cannot stay in the darkness forever. Just as Samhain moves toward Imbolc, winter moves toward spring - you have to move into the light.
Christmas is different this year . . . it is bittersweet, but it is not without hope. Yes, we miss him - very much - but we have honored his memory this year by making charitable donations instead of giving each other gifts - there are people all over the world who woke up to hope today because of donations made in his memory.
I encourage you to say "I love you" every day, to start doing all the things you've "always wanted to do," and to dance like nobody's watching, because Christmas is different this year.