Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The First Noel

My intention for writing this blog was to keep a written record of my journey this first year, since so many told me of the struggle that it would be. And although it is public and seems to have reached many, it still does what I first intended. It gives me a chance to reflect on the many experiences and feelings I have had. I often go back and read early entries to remember. Someday I will look back at these writings about my first Christmas without Glenn as well, and remember.

I thought I was going to sneak through the actual days of Christmas without much sadness. And mostly I did, thanks to my children. Between the two of them, I was at one house or the other, celebrating the day and being together. I would have to say that there was much more laughter than tears. And thoughtful loving gifts and gestures.

On Christmas Eve I went to a very large and beautiful Episcopal church, unlike any that Glenn ever served. His gift was small, out state parish ministry. At this church, there were three choirs, brass, a verger, the whole Anglican experience. And so, it didn't feel that strange not to have my husband on the altar. Yes, I teared  up at some of the Christmas hymns, but mostly out of gratitude that through my faith, I know where Glenn is, and that he is celebrating as well.

Today was harder. The excitement is over, I'm alone again, and I'm tired. I drove home in silence, not trusting myself to listen to the radio. Tonight I ate dinner with my mom, came home, put some music on and proceeded to have a little Christmas celebration of my own.

I opened the presents under the tree from my brother and his family and the ones so lovingly given to me by my school friends so that I would have things under my tree. Boo and Attie pretended to be interested, and happily ripped up the paper after I opened them.

Has it been easy? No. I have spent time today looking at his pictures and pictures from last Christmas, where I chauffeured him between two small churches on Christmas Eve. I thought of his silly, wonderful self wishing me a Merry Christmas in his very loud voice. And how delighted he would act at whatever present I gave him. And how when we got home, whatever time it was, we always cooked steak and shrimp.

And although I feel his presence with me often,  I miss his earthly self dearly.

But I continue on the path, making new memories, experiencing new joy, while treasuring the memories we had together. Sometimes those two things collide and I feel a bit badly. I think it is called "survivor guilt".

But I'm working on that too, on this journey.

Merry Christmas to all who read and share this blog. May your hearts be filled with memories of loved ones, here and not here.