Christmas without Dad

The first Christmas without Dad has come and gone.

Christmas Eve was really hard, Newelle and Kaelin said the same when we talked on Christmas Day. It felt as though our anticipation of how hard Christmas Day would be overwhelmed everything. When Christmas Day came it was just a day, and we didn’t drown in sadness.

I reminded myself that Dad had never been at my house for Christmas and would, on a normal year, have been in NJ with Mom and Kaelin. That helped me focus on the quiet joy of our family sharing breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls (thank you Scott) eggs et al. Then presents and later an elegantly simple dinner of roast chicken, green beans, rice and awesome gravy. We were all too tired to do more than simple and it was lovely.

And dad wasn’t there. He wouldn’t have been, so that much was normal. But… I would normally have called him to talk about what he cooked and thank him for my presents… and that’s not possible now. Yes, I said thank in my head and heart… and its not the same. It helps but it’s not the same.

Mom, Kaelin and I did have a good FaceTime call and I got to see the infamous cat shirt dad picked out for her. Its so odd and so him and …as she said, he probably sincerely thought it was sweet and knew Kaelin loves cats, so boom – present. 🙂 He was such a Capricorn and an early adopter of the Dad Joke (I’m pretty sure he helped invent them). It was good to talk to them, to have that moment of connection. They’ve been great about keeping me looped in and Mum/ Martha has been a champion of listening to me as I process *waves at everything*, and my immediate family / household and coven sisters have been amazing….

and somehow I still feel alone in a corner and sad.

It makes sense in away. I did the grown up thing. I moved out and away from home. For 29 years I’ve been 3,000 miles away. The people who were in Dad’s life when he died that don’t know me as anything other than a story or a photo. And most of the people in my life didn’t know Dad. Some of you have surprised me by telling me how much you liked him and that blows me away, but mostly… he wasn’t here and I wasn’t there. So… I feel out of sync.

A lot of days I want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and not move till things feel less icky. I don’t because my body wont tolerate it, the cats need feeding, there’s laundry, family I love, and *waves at the other piles* stuff. There’s not much energy for any of it, but I’m here.

I did manage to buy an amaryllis for him and me / our house, without sobbing uncontrollably. Scott and I have sent my Dad and his Mom amaryllis’ for Christmas enough years running that its a Thing. This year, Dad’s amaryllis arrived the morning he died. It was heartbreaking and also felt like a blessing of sorts. Mom is tending it as it grows. And now I have one, with his picture beside it. It makes me sad and happy and ? But it’s here, and starting to bloom.

Mom said an amazing thing yesterday: “This will be the hardest it’s ever going to be” – this Christmas, the first one and we’ve done it. There are more firsts to come but we got through this one so we have that success to hold on to as we move through the next ones.

Cricket, my parent’s black cat with a white mustache and bib, sitting on box marked Jackson & Perkins, that contains an amaryllis bulb. In NJ
Two bright green stalks rise high out of an amaryllis bulb in a brown pot. One of the blooms is beginning to open, showing pale red petals. A photo of my Dad, a white man in his 70’s in this image, mostly bald, with a salt & pepper mustache, wearing a light blue button down shirt and a darker blue jacket. The photo is in a black frame and is propped up beside the blooming amaryllis. In CA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.