There are certain days of the year we use to mark the passage of time. After losing someone that time either falls into the before or after loss category. I don’t know if it was always that way for me, but Christmas is now one of those days. Today marks our third Christmas without Tony.
Last night it was quiet as the kids slumbered, stockings were filled, and the cookies magically turned into crumbs. Those relaxed moments are ones that give me space to remember. My mind travels to two different timelines, the gap in our lives since he passed and the memories from before.
It’s wild to think about what he is missing in our lives. The changes the kids have undergone as they grow physically, in their interests, and socially. Our oldest made the best sarcastic joke last week and I just know he would have laughed from the bottom of his gut. I can’t even begin to count how many hugs from him we’ve missed out on.
I also find myself thinking about our Christmases past.
The year we bought the boys a power wheel vehicle. Tony researched and price compared until he found what he deemed was the very best option, a blue dune buggy. Then Christmas Eve when he brought it inside and sat in it. I was just sure he was going to break it before the kids got to use it. I was annoyed, but his excitement was palpable.
Then there was the time, I was 9 months pregnant with our youngest. Tony had way too much fun at my family Oyster Party, and he was not a good helper elf. We lived in a tiny house with no storage space, so I had hidden all the big gifts in the storage shed in our backyard. Unbeknownst to me, I was five days away from giving birth. Did I mention it was a white Christmas? So, there I was ready to pop, traipsing through the snow and hauling the gifts inside. I loved teasing him and reminding him how much trouble he would have been in if I had gone into labor that night.
The last memory that stands out is the year of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tower. It was the only thing our middle son wanted that year. I had read reviews online that the setup on it was horrendous. However, I failed to mention any of that to Tony in advance. This was his year to be annoyed with me for making this awful purchase. However, he was a good elf this year and stayed up late getting the tower ready for his favorite middle boy.
Christmas is hard because it pushes joy at every turn, and it makes the grief hit different. I think I’ll always know how many Christmases I’ve spent without Tony here. But I hope the memories we made before he passed help sustain me through the quiet moments when the kids are nestled in bed.