December 18, 2009

A day to forget

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:04 am by letterstoelias

I’ve tried to write this letter three times – lets see if I can actually get it done this time before falling asleep . . . (and though I had planned to add a bunch of photos, they’ll have to wait for another day if I’m going to get this posted)

I’m still here – I’ve just been as busy as can be.  Probably a good thing too, as if I had any more time to think about how hard this all is, and how much I’m dreading getting through the ‘holiday season’ without you, I’d be in even worse shape.

There’s nothing easy about being without the love of your life at a time like this, that’s for sure.  I had an exceptionally lousy day on Sunday.  Definitely a day to forget.  Going back a bit first, I had really busy week, but I guess things were operating as smoothly as can be with so much running around to do.  Not much out of the ordinary went on, but with Christmas approaching I feel the stress building up.  The physical manifestation of the grief seems to have returned, and I spend much of the time these days with my stomach feeling ‘off’ and I’ve been getting stiffness in my neck, which inevitably leads to tension headaches.  This could also be from the added workload, but trying to figure out how to get through these next few weeks emotionally has been taking a toll on me.

I finally decided (at the very) last minute to go with Buz and Sian to get a tree from a friend’s local tree farm on Saturday morning – it was going to be free and we could cut down our own.  Not exactly how we did it in the past as we weren’t going right into the forest – these trees are grown to be Christmas trees, but I wasn’t feeling ready to continue with ‘our’ tradition this year (especially because I would rather have not gotten one at all), and I didn’t want to just go buy one from a store so I figured this was a decent compromise.  We picked a tree – if you can call it that.  It’s not even one that Charlie Brown would have picked, so it’s right up my ally.  E had picked a few, and this was one of them, so she is happy too.  It’s not much taller than she is, and it’s almost as wide as it is tall.  It has a wonderfully crooked trunk, which I know you would have cursed (me) wildly for while putting it in the stand (though I’m sure ‘secretly’ you appreciated my love for the obscure?).  As great a tree as it is, and as nice as it was to go with company, it was still really tough to do.  I fought back tears a couple of times.

It was a busy morning as we had an acro class first, and then getting the tree, back for a quick lunch, then off to the girls’ Christmas dance show.  The show was great – it’s amazing to see just how much C has changed since the show in June.  She was up there on a big stage in front of a huge crowd, doing the choreography having a great time.  E was great too – she helped out in C’s class, then did a brief acro performance where she worked so hard to do a headstand and when she finally pulled it off (on the hard floor no less), she received quite the applause; and of course she had her own ballet number as well.  It was nice to see them enjoy it so much – but I needed the help between my parents and Sian and other friends to deal with getting E backstage when she needed to be and watching C, etc.

Sunday I had hoped try to have a bit of a ‘Christmassy’ day – put on music, put up the tree, make Christmas goodies, etc. After breakfast I was about to put the music on and get the tree stand, but the tears just started to come.  Then, I turned and saw it had started to snow, and I couldn’t help it.  I just sat down and started to cry.  E cuddled up on my lap and I just shared with her how much I miss you and that it’s a little ‘extra’ tough to miss you at this time of year.  As I said before, I try not to loose it too much in front of them, but sometimes it just takes me over (not that I always hide it either, I just don’t want them to get overwhelmed).  It’s absolutely impossible to describe just how much I miss you right now.  This was one of those days where it was harder to keep at bay.  We decided to trim E’s hair instead.  It was a good distraction for a bit, but we still had a whole day ahead of us.  I chatted for a bit with Bridie – cried to her on the phone some about the struggles of it all.  At lunch I asked E if she would consider helping Nana decorate her tree instead of us putting up ours, but she really wanted a tree here, so after lunch I finally took it on.

I’ve made it through so many other occasions since you died – I don’t know why putting up a damn tree was so hard.  But it was.  After it was up I shed a few more tears on the phone with my mom.  But, it’s up.  It even has some decorations on it now.  None of the usual ones though (I’ve only opened the one box of Christmas decorations to get the tree stand).  My mom helped the girls make a number of decorations and we’ll probably leave it at that.  Part of me still feels badly for this, but the girls don’t seem to care, they are completely happy with what is there, and I know there is NO way I could bare to have the ‘usual’ stuff out.  Who knows how I’m even going to get to the stockings . . .

Your parents are coming over tomorrow, and Sue, Dale, Catherine, JP and Mike are all coming on Saturday to help set the posts to build the arbour/pergola you had always planned to build around the deck.  It will be nice to see them all here, and it will be great to get that started.  I was able to pay for the wood with some extra Christmas money – so I guess it will be like our Christmas present to you.

The intensity of the workload is picking up in the Aspire program – but I’m still really enjoying it.  It’s just tough juggling it all.  Balls keep dropping.  Things will slow down a bit after tomorrow, but then it’s the last week before Christmas.  I have not purchased one single gift.  I’ve been told there are no expectations on me to do so – and I pretty much want to vomit each time I think about going near the stores.  I tried to look online for a bit, but even that was overwhelming.  Whether or not I’m ‘off the hook’, I still feel bad about it.  And I know people are buying for us.  Even my attempts to make gifts have not been all that successful, and it all feels inadequate compared to the many ‘gifts’ we have already received from so many people.  I believe it’s true that, ‘Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind’ (Dr. Seuss of course), but it’s still hard.  I want to give too.

And I want for nothing but you.  Christmas cards arrive each day without your name on them.  Your stocking will be empty.  You won’t be busy in the kitchen making amazing food (and lots of it) to eat.  We don’t get to share in the joy of watching the girls open their gifts.  It’s just too much to bear.  I hate this.  It hurts so much.  SO much.  I’m sorry.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. brenda said,

    I had a thought while reading this; it may be too hard to do, but it may also be somewhat healing and a way for the girls (and you) to still include Daddy in Christmas. Totally up to you. What if you did put Elias’ stocking up? What if you and the girls filled it with notes and pictures of things that have happened this year that you and they want to share with him? Little gifts hand made by the girls? It may be hard, but it may also be the start of a new tradition. After Christmas, these memories could go in a Christmas memory box that the girls could keep with them always, even when they are all grown up.

    Know that I am thinking of you all lots and lots – and that, even if your presents don’t come on time – (ok, maybe in January – or February – or how bout around Eibhlin’s birthday???), they will come! I am just disorganized! And we surely don’t expect anything in return!


    • letterstoelias said,

      It is a really nice idea – I had planned on trying to put up Elias’ stocking (knowing full well I’d fall apart while doing it mind you), and was trying to think of a way to ‘do something’ special with it. I really like the suggestion – thank you.

      And NO worries about gifts – not at all!
      Love you lots,

  2. Roads said,

    I tried to shelter the kids from my own grief, as much as I could. But I couldn’t always hold it back.

    At my father-in-law’s funeral last October, we visited the grave together, just the three of us. It was a hard day, back at the church where we had got married and the children had been christened.

    Life had moved on since then, and there were a million and one reasons to be joyful and new people and a new life to be joyful for. And yet, for a few moments on that day, twelve years on, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing however much I tried.

    My daughter (now 15) patted me on the back, and then she and my son (13 already) both hugged me in turn. And I can’t tell you how much that meant.

    I’m fine now, and in truth I was fine again the very next day. Just to say that those moments do come sometimes. They may come less often, but they can still surprise you. I think the death of someone so important to you stays with you throughout your life. Doubtless that’s just the way it should be. Those hardest moments really are the proof of the love you shared, so in a way you have to embrace them, however brutally they hurt.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thank you for sharing that Roads.

      I often find comfort knowing that so many years on the waves of grief can still knock you back – once in a while. I agree wholeheartedly that it is supposed to stay with you for life when you love someone so much. No, I don’t want to always be in this pain, but in many ways I also never want to stop missing Elias.

      I love hearing how touched your children were as well, and how compassionate. A real testament to you in that.


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