Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas Day, 2007

So Christmas has come and gone, and I have slowed down enough to think about how I've felt through the past few weeks and will try to make some sense out of it! :)

For the past holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, I worked myself up over how they were coming up, and what I'd do when the day came. For Christmas I tried really hard not to do that. At first I thought I wouldn't want anything to do with Christmas, no tree, no presents, but decided that wasn't the way to go. I thought about going away and being somewhere different and quiet, but that never came about either. The weeks prior to Christmas were really good. Jason and I spent quality time with friends and each other- we did host a lot for football games and movie nights. I was feeling really good.
Christmas day came, and it was awful! I mean, it was really hard. (But I'm glad I didn't spend weeks worrying about it first!). Just remembering the year before, not having any idea how traumatic the day would become- I spent a lot of the day in bed. Jason went to hang out with his brothers and his dad in the morning while I slept. Early afternoon his mother, grandmother and brothers came back to our home to open presents. I felt so lonely and sad the whole day. Jason's family is wonderful and they were being very nice and didn't want to bring up anything that would upset me. But the fact that no one asked me how I was feeling or pointing out why they day was so hard made it even harder. I guess I should have brought it up and said that I would have really liked to talk about my family. But I didn't. At 12:30, the time around which the accident happened, I was alone in bed- praying that some of the sting be taken away. I kept thinking, if my family were here, it would be different. We'd be able to feel and know each others pain and get through it together. Everyone left and Jason and I had more time together. I know how hard it must be for him- I don't know what I want, good for him for trying to figure it out! Later that night he went to another relatives house- one that I just can't go to, because that is where I got the phone call from the hospital, saying come now. I watch a movie (a bad one....) and talked to a few people on the phone.
I didn't know it would be so difficult that one day, especially since I had so many good days leading up to it.
Wednesday my sister and her family got to town, and Thursday my brother and his wife came. It was really good to see them and spend time- but the void that I felt Christmas day was not filled by them, as I had hoped it would be. We didn't spend a lot of time sharing memories- well, we did in a way, but not like I thought we would. It was hard to make sure everyone was happy and entertained and by this time I was so tired! We got lost in the ghetto of DC with an empty tank of gas, after walking in the cold around the monuments for 3 hours..... my best friend was also in town staying with us, and her roomate was highly allergic to cats and could only sit at the kitchen table.......

I'll stop complaining, because it was a very good weekend- just really hard.

I'm coming into this new year sad- everyday the reality of the accident becomes more real- and it is very hard.

1 comment:

John Burger said...

Thanks for posting those thoughts. I certainly feel for you! I'd have to say that for myself, things started getting harder about a month before the anniversary of the tragedy. I'd never felt so down in December before! Christmas Day itself was not as bad, perhaps because I'd already been feeling so blue all of December--kind of opposite to your experience. But I couldn't help thinking of what you, Jeremy and Julia must have been feeling that day, and realized that my sorrow would be nothing compared to yours.
The Christmas card you three sent out (which is where I learned about your blog) was really beautiful and touching. Thanks to all of you for that.
Angeles and I were in Florida on Christmas Day and prayed the prayer that Liz had sent out. At 12:38 we stopped where we were and found that we'd be praying next to a pool and under some palm trees. I thought Charley would have appreciated that. We especially remembered your mother and brother on the first anniversary of their death.
And yesterday, on the first anniversary of your father's death, we prayed together at 1 p.m., around the time he died, some beautiful Byzantine prayers that Joan had sent out. We went to Mass at 5, remembering him. And later in the evening, I grabbed a beer and went out to the back yard to toast his memory. It was very dark, and the stars were very bright. I couldn't help but start talking to my big brother, thanking him for everything he'd given me in life, including a love for star-gazing. When we were young, he built his own telescope, and he and I spent a few nights out in the yard together.
Later still, I dug out some old files of letters I'd saved over the years and tried to read as many that I had from Charley as possible. That was a great consolation, and it was also a way to look back on our lives and see how we've changed and what kind of influence he had on my life. I was struck by how wise he was even as a 26-year-old, giving advice to his 15-year-old brother.
I have to say, as an aside, that I'm glad I grew up in an age before email. If I had grown up in the 1990s or so, I wonder how many emails from people I would have saved. Now I have letters that people actually wrote out by hand or typed, and somehow it gives you more of the personality of the writer. It's pretty neat.
But I digress...
Sylvia, the "sting" will be there for quite some time, but know that you are not alone! We are with you, and we're here FOR you, and that goes for your brother and sister as well.
Uncle John