It is hard to believe that it is Christmas Eve. This year has been one of the most tumultuous years of my life. And yet, I still have a few more tough days to face before I say good-bye to 2013.
This year I did it all by myself. I usually did most of the shopping and wrapping. But I always saved the "BEST" presents back to put out on Christmas Eve once the kids were in bed. Dave would help me get them all out and place them around the tree. The house was always so quiet (like tonight), the lights were glowing (like tonight), then we would sit and enjoy the stillness together...very much unlike tonight. Dave LOVED Christmas morning and I treasure the memories I share with him in my life.
But this year is much different. I have reflected on the years we had when he was in better health. And I have reflected on the thoughts I was having last year at this time. I knew. I knew it would be our last. And I wondered what this year would be like. Now, I know. The void he left screams at me. I can't ignore it and I don't think I should.
Tomorrow, I won't get to open a gift from my husband. I think back over some of the great gifts he gave me. It brings a smile to my face. I look around my house and I still see some of them. I get frustrated with myself that what I do have, what God has done for me this year, is not enough for me. At least for today. The void is too great.
I have 3 great kids that I love!
But I don't have my husband.
The kids bought gifts for me to open in the morning.
But there is none from my husband.
I will gather with family and exchange laughs, gifts, make memories, eat some delicious food.
But I won't have my husband there.
There are people who were not able to give to their family like I was able to.
But I don't have my husband.
I bought gifts for my kids, my brother and his family, my parents.
But I didn't get to buy anything for my husband.
I cooked LOTS of yummy treats!
But I didn't get to watch my husband enjoy them like he used to.
He is gone.
And Christmas has taken on a different feel this year than any other year in my life. This is the first time, part of me dreaded the day. It is my favorite holiday. It always has been! I like to do it up...but this year is different.
It is different because I loved. It is different because life has changed in a way I never thought it would.
I have learned with grief that it hits when I don't expect it, in ways I don't expect, and is triggered by things I never would have thought would trigger it. I hope and pray tomorrow is FULL of smiles, love, and sweet memories. But it may be full of tears. And I have to be ok with that.
Because this Christmas, Dave is not here.
My prayer has been that God fill those empty places. Dave will not be sitting in my living room tomorrow morning. But I can have the peace that Jesus offers and I pray I allow that to fill my hurting heart.
Dave is with the one we are truly celebrating. He has the Prince of Peace. He is with Emmanuel. He is with the babe who's birth we honor tomorrow. And that hope is a gift no man can offer! It is a gift from Jesus to his children. And for that I am thankful!
He is missed.
He is loved.