December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 2:09 am by letterstoelias

At least, I’m sure by the time I finish this, it will be.  It’s been an eventful week since I last wrote.  Your parents came over on Friday to start work on the arbour.  We had to work out kinks in the logistics of where it would go and how to lay it out – trying to blend what was your initial vision for the project with what would work best; and by the time the others arrived on Saturday the holes were already dug, and it ended up being a pretty great day.  After a few wet days earlier in the week, the sun came out and it was rather mild – a perfect day for that kind of work.  Claude had his ‘crew’ (JP and Mike) to help get the posts level and supported, and we all worked on mixing and pouring the cement.

Even the girls got involved and had a good time, though C had less interest than E and spent a fair amount of time indoors ‘supervising’ (I’ll add a few photos at the end of the letter).  I think we all could really feel your spirit there with us – laughing at some of the antics and smiling to see everyone working together on something that meant a lot to you.  I know I will be the one to benefit from the arbour, but really, it’s for you.  I said that it was like our Christmas present to you.  It won’t be finished for some time, but it’s nice to have it started.  I suppose it would be wonderfully fitting to have it finished by your birthday in the spring – though that is a way’s away yet.  It was incredible for them all to come out and help like that, and it meant a lot.

I also had a nice treat after the work in the yard – Buz had planned on a manicure and pedicure for Sian, and he figured it would be more fun if she had a friend to go along, so I got treated as well.  It was sure great to sit in the spa’s massage chairs after a day of shoveling cement, that’s for sure.  I think it was more fun to get some time to spend with Sian without chasing after kids though.  I realized it was only the second time I’ve had that done, and the last was over 7yrs ago, so I guess it was due.  After I got home though, I was feeling completely beat – I think I was dehydrated from not drinking enough while working in the yard.

On Sunday my parents took the girls to the mainland to see all my grandparents, along with some aunts and uncles, before Christmas.  I considered going, but wasn’t feeling up to it in a few ways, and opted to stay home.   I got a fair amount accomplished around the house and completed some much needed paperwork, so it was quite a productive day for me, and the girls had a great time visiting everyone.  On Monday we celebrated Sian’s birthday/solstice with dinner at their place.  Sian made a delicious meal and I made an eggnog cheesecake for dessert.  My first cheesecake.  It wasn’t properly set in the middle, but it tasted pretty good.

In the last few days I feel like I’ve just been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  I’ve been working on finishing the (somewhat botched) homemade gifts, and I’ve tried to do a bit of actual Christmas shopping.  I hate to sound like a Grinch, because I’m honestly not trying to stamp out other people’s joy and cheer, but it’s tough to wander the isles, listening to the other shoppers happily humming along to the Christmas tunes, seeing all the extra chipper sales clerks in their santa hats cheerfully casting wishes of merry Christmas on everyone.  And rightfully so.  And I don’t wish for it to stop for others, it’s just hard to be around.  And I hardly think it would be festive if my response to the well wishes was to say, ‘Actually, my Christmas won’t be merry at all because my husband died 8 months ago’ (it probably didn’t help that it was the 8 month anniversary of your death on one of the days I was shopping).  I know I could justifiably say it, but I don’t wish to dampen anyone else’s’ Christmas spirit just because I don’t have much (it’s hard to keep the spirit up when your kids go to bed at night and cry for their Daddy to come home – it doesn’t happen every night, but it did happen just the other night).

So, instead, I walked as fast as I could, with my hat and head as low as possible and tried not to look much beyond the shelves in front of me.  Inevitably, of course, I ran into people I know – and I’m sure most of them could sense my discomfort.  I have never been one prone to anxiety before, but I could feel my heart trying to beat out of my chest almost the whole time.  It was mostly a blur.  It seemed impossible to try and keep track of whom I had already bought for (what it even was), and who was left.  I hate feeling like I’m not putting thought into it – because I am, but it’s hard to even figure out my thoughts right now.  I was fortunate that this morning Zoe offered to take the girls for a couple of hours so I could try and finish up without dragging them with me – which was a huge help (along with all the frozen meals she gave me).  I miss Christmas shopping with you.  As much as you hated it, and drove me crazy by complaining, at least we were together in it.  At least I had a partner.  Someone to discuss gift ideas with and to talk me out of/into presents for people.

As I shopped, a few more ‘fitting’ songs for my mood played, but they only served to just about bring me to tears . . .

They’re singing deck the halls

But it’s not like Christmas at all

I remember when you were here

And all the fun we had last year

If there was a way

I’d hold back these tears

But it’s Christmas day

Baby please come home . . . .

(from U2s version of Christmas, Baby please come home)

This was followed immediately by ‘Blue Christmas’.  If ‘Wintersong’ came on next, I definitely would have bolted.  The afternoon picked up though, as Chloe and Fern came over for a visit.  Only, I felt bad as they ended up on an earlier ferry than I thought and the house was quite a mess – but at least they were able to get a hold of my mom who entertained them for a bit until I got back home.  The girls love to play with Chloe and it was so sweet of them to take the time and make the trip over.  Oh, and my mom took the girls to see ‘Santa’ – they were just going to look, but they ended up sitting on his lap.  I must admit to being disappointed that they weren’t terrified of him as in years past.  It also seems to have made E forget most of what I had taught her about St. Nicholas (the real one) as much of the focus has now shifted to Santa and Rudolf.  I want them to have fun, I just don’t want Christmas to be ALL about Santa and presents.

I ‘sort of’ felt like I had accomplished a lot, but as I sat on the kitchen floor tonight surrounded by my purchases and home made gifts, it didn’t seem like much.  And there are so many I haven’t bought for yet.  Then I went to grab some wrapping paper and bags, only to have the first bag I picked up with last years tag that I had labeled ‘To Daddyman, Love Your Girls’ which made me smile, then cry.  I’m reminded how, immediately after Christmas last year, you told me that was probably your last.  I hated hearing you say it, but it had crossed my mind too.  I hate that you were right.  And what a difference without you this year.  A sad, lonely difference.

I’ll be going to my parents’ place, though I’m not sure if we’ll send the night Christmas Eve or not.  We had initially discussed it, as it won’t be easy waking up here without you – but part of me just wants to have a moment here for the girls and I in honour of you, before diving into the day.  As ideal as that sounds on paper, I’m sure the girls will just be too excited and I would get frustrated that it didn’t go as planned, so it’s possibly better if we just skip it – but I think, as many other things, it will have to just be a ‘game day decision’ for me.  Your extended family is having a gathering, as is mine, but I think the smaller the better this year.  I even told my mom she didn’t need to go all out for dinner – beans on toast would be fine by me – but we will be having a more traditional dinner.  There’s a tree.  Some decorations.  The stockings are up.  Even a gingerbread house.

I can’t believe it’s here.  I can’t believe you won’t be.


P.S.  I Love You

I wanted to add an update this morning that, though missing you will definitely take centre stage, I’m sure I will find some moments of happiness in the day.  I am so very thankful for what I do still have, and as much as I miss you, I will do my best to continue to be present with that, through missing you.





  1. I hope you find moments of happiness at this painful time and that next year brings more peace.

    Merry Christmas.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thank you Mr London Street,

      When I woke up this morning, I thought I should come back and add a note to the post that, though missing Elias is taking centre stage right now, I’m sure I will find some moments of happiness (the girls really help make that possible). It’s not easy but I trust it will be there.

      I am still very thankful for what I ‘do’ have – amazing support from loved ones and dear friends, and of course my girls – and this will be my focus. Thanks again for your note.


  2. Dianne said,

    Chelsea~Know that I’m thinking of you and the girls and praying that you are able to feel a peace amidst the pain, joy in spite of the journey and strength that comes from the Son.

    Have a blessed Christmas!


    • letterstoelias said,

      Thank you so much Dianne, I always appreciate your encouragement and support. It’s an unfortunate circumstance that brought us in contact, but we definitely have a connection and I value your caring comments. I hope all is well with you and yours.


  3. Shannon Bond said,

    I’m up way too late, but just read your latest update and wanted to wish you all the best getting through the festive season. Your pain is palpable, but that tenacity continues to shine through.

    Love the photos. That is an awesome tree. 🙂

    Thinking of you

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks as always Shannon – and don’t get like me and stay up too late all the time =).

      Again, I love and appreciate the word tenacity. The tree was just right – still hard to put up (emotionally, more so than physically, but it was a very ‘pokey’ tree . . .), but the girls were just so thrilled and almost every single ornament on it was made by them, so it turned out great.

      Hope all is well in Sask.

  4. Roads said,

    Christmas is hard. There’s just so much to do. Far too much for one parent on their own.

    It’s an ordeal — organisation, physical, emotional. And a huge accomplishment to come through it.

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