Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not what it once was...

As a child I always loved the month of December. The decorations, the tree, family time and of course some of the greatest movies ever made. One of my favorite things about this time of year has always been Christmas lights because they have the ability to make everything look so beautiful. Even the most run down and beat up buildings have an incredible glow once strings of lights are attached. The real question now is why is something I used to love so hard to see now? Why do the decorations at work only cause me to feel suffocated by the thought of my dad no longer being here? Why as a young kid did the gifts being piled under the tree seem most important? Even as I got older I used Christmas as just one of the days I could find new ways to show my family how much I loved them. I thought I could make up for anything wrong that I ever did by buying each of them something special. I still had this idea that gifts was what it was all about. I was young and didn't understand the special little moments that I now miss more than anything.

Decorating was never a huge deal in my house, especially as the years went by. My dad knew it was important to me, so he made it a priority like most things that I cared deeply about. The early years of my childhood consisted of us gathering around a fire and decorating the tree. He would tell me stories of each ornament, where he got them, how old they were and why they meant so much. He loved Christmas trees. He said it was the first thing people noticed as they drove up the driveway. Turning the lights on was one of the first things he did when he got home from work. Some days I would find him just sitting there starring at the tree. As the years went by we decorated less and less. My brother and I were older, he was out of the house and I was at school in Kansas but would come home for holiday break. My dad still made sure to have the tree up and lit when I got home. The tree was enough, it brought meaning and allowed us to gather around it on cold nights with a fire.

It always amazed me how one month could bring so much happiness and excitement to the entire world. I look back now and I also realize that same month brought my family closer together. It was one time each year that we actually enjoyed each other's company. We found ways to show we cared about one another and spent time just being a family. Whether it was dinner with family friends or just simply my family gathering around a table for dinner, it was special. December 2010, the year I lost my dad, I had forced my parents to fully decorate our house. It had been a while since the last time we actually decorated the house and added ornaments to the tree. In my heart I felt I needed some Christmas cheer. That would be the last time I ever decorated with my dad, his life ended two days before Christmas and I was left starring at our tree of memories. The day he passed away he took with him the family meaning of Christmas and the tradition we had for so many years. He also took with him the Christmas cheer. In one day the happiness surrounding my life was taken from me and I felt like I had lost reason to keep living.

Somehow I have made it to year two but still I struggle to figure out how to make it through this time of year without him. I hear Christmas music in stores and all I want to do is escape it as soon as possible. I have lost the ability to enjoy what this month means to so many others. Christmas is everywhere I go and the memories flow constantly tearing me apart because the one thing I need isn't here. Then at night I go home to a pitch black house that is trying to act like the month doesn't exist, as if holidays mean nothing anymore. It's one feeling I hate more than anything. Holidays just aren't holidays anymore and at this point nothing can change that.

I wish more than anything that I could figure out a way to continue traditions or even start new ones. It just seems impossible at this time. People prepare their holiday plans and I try to figure out how to make it through this time without crying every day. I try to smile and act like the pain isn't there but it's constantly there each and every moment of my day. I go from smiling to crying in seconds. I can't sleep at night trying to figure out how to make it through all of this. I look in the mirror and see a person with very little strength. I need people to be here but can't find the strength to ask for help. A huge amount of love is missing from my life and emptiness is covering the strength I once thought I had. I have this lonely feeling that takes over without warning and leaves me in tears. The life I once had is all I want back, yet at the time all I wanted was for it to be different. I wish I could sit here and say that everything I ever wanted to say and do was accomplished, but it wasn't. 

I know nothing I do can change anything. Nothing will bring my dad back. Although I have known that since the minute I found out he was gone, the reality of it is hitting me hard. There is so much change happening in my life that I want my dad to be apart of. His support and guidance is needed more than ever.  He has always been the person who would do anything to make sure all my plans matched up, while also making sure I wasn't going to fail. I thought each year would get better but that hasn't been the case and I feel incredibly lost. I now understand how important it was for me to leave last year around this time. Nothing about this month is easy and unfortunately, this year I can't run away from it. I need to live it. I need to accept that this year and forever after wont include my dad. I made it through last year, I will make it through this year and every year after. I will find ways to wake up each day, get out of bed, and try my best to be happy. At this point all I can really do is try to turn all of this around, put the face on that everyone wants and hide what I am feeling until I am in a place where I can let it out. Currently grief has a very strong hold of me... 

God bless,

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