Friday, March 25, 2016
At A Loss
I have mentioned before that I often write my posts in advance of actually posting them. In a recent (for us) conversation with another blogger we had a mini conversation about coping with loved ones no longer being with us for holidays.
She and her family were about to experience their first Thanksgiving and Christmas without her mother. Every family goes through this. It is hard to enjoy a holiday when someone who was an integral part of the celebration is missing.
Mom was a great cook. For Thanksgiving she always made a big meal. We were all welcome to come with our families. The only rule she had was that no one get between her and the television during the football game.
I am a decent enough cook. I make Thanksgiving dinner for us. But it is not the same as being at Mom's house.
Daddy loved Christmas. On Christmas Eve we all gathered at my parent's house. Mom would take a picture of the tree before we got there. Then she would take another after we had all put the gifts we brought under the tree. It was awe inspiring to see the sheer number of packages.
Daddy played "Santa". He did not dress up but he passed out the gifts. The littlest one always got the first gift, then on up in age until the oldest person opened one. After that he made sure that the gifts were given out so that each person was a constant part of the action.
After Daddy died my brother happily took over the "Santa" duties. He was good at it and did it exactly like Daddy did. But it was not the same. And we all felt it.
When I was little we went to my grandparents' farm for Easter. Aunts, uncles, and cousins were there. We all brought our colored eggs.
The day would be spent hiding the eggs and hunting them all over again. If it rained we hid them in the attic but on a nice day they were hidden outside. We would hide those eggs until they were nothing but mush.
A big Easter dinner was served. It seemed like there were hundreds of deviled eggs which was fine with me.
Then as we grew up my parents were the ones who had Easter at their house. We were all there with our children and their colored eggs.
My father died on Good Friday. We made an extreme effort to make Easter as normal as possible for the children that year. It was hard enough for them to be without the grandfather they adored.
What we did not realize is that after that year Easter became Easter baskets and a dinner. Gone was the family get-together. Gone was the trip to the park for the annual egg roll. Gone was the fun.
The sad thing was that we did not even know what we had done. Until my youngest son was grown and told me he wanted to make an Easter for his children like he used to have. Would I help?
I was shocked first. Then I felt ashamed for cheating the children in our family of the happiness we had in getting together. The sad thing is that it was not just me. My mother, my sisters and brothers. We just went through the motions.
My son had a great Easter planned. We all took our colored eggs and lots of food. My son hid eggs in the yard at the side of his house. The kids had a fun time hunting them.
After we over-ate we went back outside. I am not sure who started it but I think it was my second son. Suddenly there were Easter eggs flying everywhere. The kids had the best fight ever throwing eggs at each other. It was great.
It is normal to feel the loss especially during a time of celebration. For me it is best to talk about the person missing with the others who miss them too. Perhaps it is my way of making sure they are included. I always think of Daddy at Easter.