November 25, 2009

Diamonds define a hero?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:52 pm by letterstoelias

Grief takes a holiday . . . if only.

The holiday season is officially upon us.  Bearing down.  It’s now one month until Christmas.  I’ve been struggling with this a fair bit the past few days.  If it was up to me, I’d go to sleep on Dec 23rd and wake up on Jan 3rd.  Just skip it all together.  If it wasn’t for the girls, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I would do.

But, I have two bright-eyed children who love lights & decorations.  And even though I love the fact that when people inevitably ask the dreaded question ‘what is Santa going to bring you for Christmas?’ E doesn’t shout out anything present related (she usually comes up with something else about Santa coming over for dinner) she is still very excited about the whole Christmas thing.  Understandably so.  It’s not just about Christmas Day though, it’s this time of year . . .

I’ve wavered a great deal on what I will do.  I’ve had offers for help putting up lights and chopping down a tree.  But it’s not about who will do that job.  I could do it.  Anyone could.  It’s about the fact that it’s not you doing it.  I miss seeing you haul the lights out and test them.  Fuss over deciding what lights you will put where.  Spending all afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday using the staple gun to put them up – all the while I watch the odd spark fly and ask if you are sure that’s a good idea as you shoot me a cheeky grin and chuckle.  I miss traipsing off into the woods together, trying to pick out just the right tree.  You begrudgingly agreeing to go with the ‘Charley Brown’ tree, or the one with the ‘wonky’ trunk because I insist that no one else would choose it, so we have to – then watching you struggle to get the thing to stay in the tree holder properly.

You would have an insane addiction to mandarin oranges at this time of year.  You could always be found with at least 5-6 in your pockets (or at least the peels of about that many) at any given time.  You could polish off an entire box in no time – and the girls are the same.

And your snowmen.  Oh, the snowmen.  Always the tallest on the street (and apparently you had a long history of this).  Watching you out in the snow with E – rolling giant balls of snow and somehow making a snowman that is at least two feet taller than you (last year we had to use a ladder just to put the carrot in the snowman you helped Emma build!).  E has been talking a lot about snow lately and how she loved to throw snowballs at Daddy’s butt.  There was the slide you made (that we all tried) out of the enormous amount of snow you shoveled (and the bit that I shoveled) off the driveway.  It was like you became a kid again at this time of year.  You really came alive.  There are just so many wonderful memories, and of course I’m glad to have them, but it’s a double-edged sword.

Even though I’ve always had a strict December 1st Christmas rule, once that date hit the Christmas music would be on and the decorations would come out and I was all for it.  I know it’s not December 1st yet (I guess I’m breaking my own rule by talking Christmas . . . ), but I’m just not ‘in the spirit’ this year.  Go figure.

I still want more than anything to offer gifts to some of the amazing people in my life who, without their constant presence in my life this past 7 months (and of course those who have been there the whole 32yrs), I don’t know where I would be – but I went into the mall here briefly the other day – and seeing the decorations and what not, made me want to turn right around and leave.  It felt so uncomfortable.

I’ve never been a big fan of most Christmas advertising – all the stress and pressure to purchase the ‘perfect’ gift, or to ‘really make them smile’ – but today as I was driving home from working in town, one radio commercial really got me . . . a jewellery store commercial advising the listener to ‘Be the hero she wants you to be’ (or some similar nonsense).  That’s right.  A man can’t be a hero for his wife unless he puts a diamond on her.  Sure.  Diamonds are great.  Very pretty.  I like them too.  But, seriously?  A hero for buying a diamond. . . .

Let me tell you what a hero is.  A man who always put his family (and anyone else for that matter) first, no matter what was going on inside his body.  A man who shared his story, his struggles,  his heart – in hopes that others would find their way to ‘live in the moment’.  A man who endured two brain surgeries, radiation, three types of chemotherapy, and countless other treatments – with barely a complaint – to stay with his family as long as he could.  A man who was kind to everyone he met.  A man who showed love to his children every day of their lives, and who made such an impact on them in what little time they had together, that his light shines through them so brightly.  A man who exuded compassion, joy, and love without fear.  The man I married.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Dianne said,

    What wonderful pictures of great family times that you and the girls will cherish forever. Thinking of you during this season, well…and always!


  2. brenda said,

    Sometimes it hits hard – pictures of Elias doing normal, wonderful daddy stuff.

    To speak in a banal way about the weather: I do notice that he is chopping down a tree in shirt sleeves.

    • letterstoelias said,

      It does hit hard – takes my breath away to look at most pictures.

      And yes, about the t-shirt . . . . I guess the physical labour of wrapping the tree was enough to keep him warm – though it wasn’t long after that when he became itchy from his treatments and started wearing a winter coat 24/7.


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