When my roommate suggested I write tonight, for the first time in months, because I actually have tomorrow off from work-- I told her I had nothing to write about. That I wasn't, "in the mood." That's not exactly true. I know exactly what I want to get off my chest.
It's the first Christmas that he's gone. It's not the first holiday, technically. That was Thanksgiving. But I think in a way this was almost harder. More real. And it's the holiday I technically would have been less likely to see him. I mean, seriously, I cried on Christmas Eve Eve because they played, "All I Want For Christmas" by Mariah Carey in the bar. Genuinely, I cried in the bar. Because all I want for Christmas is for him to come back to me. And that's never going to happen. So then I went to my cousin's and cried myself to sleep in his t-shirt.
Every other year, including this one, I visited his family. But this year, when I walked in the door, I wasn't immediately wrestled to the floor in the kitchen, or hugged from behind, or teased mercilessly about when our wedding would be.
And this year, when I walked in his house, all I could think about were the presents his mom had to return and that he didn't wake his little sisters up to open presents, and that at some point later in the day we'd all be visiting his grave.
I never realized how hard this would be. Losing him was my worst fear, but I thought we'd have so much more time. I thought that by the time I had to miss him, I'd be married and the mother of his children. Instead I'm still me, 23 and lost, just clinging to the memories.
I know how much his family struggles. I wish there was anything I could do to help them. But the truth is I'm just as broken, in my own way. And now I know what it's like, for everyone who has lost a loved one before the holidays.
I know what it's like to be surrounded by family and feel entirely alone. I know what it's like to sit in silence, in a group of people, while you're all lost in a sea of memories that involve one particular person. I know what it's like to be laughing, having a great time with loved ones, only to be crushed with the devastating, crushing limits of your reality, because the one person you want to laugh with the most isn't in the room. In fact, they'll never be in the room again.
And all those times you laughed together, played together, fought together...all fade away. You struggle to remember the good times, and the bad times, because each day brings you farther from a reality with them in it. A reality where they lived and breathed on the same Earth that you inhabit. And the people around you want you to love and enjoy your life, and you want that too, but sometimes it is that much harder when there's one person you wish was there more than anything in the world.
The world is a little less bright without your loved ones, especially during the holidays. These are the days in which we're supposed to be cheerful, and giving, and celebrate the magic of family, and love, and grace. And now, I know what it's like to do those things, and still feel the presence of an overwhelming loss weighing heavy on my black-hole-heart.
There is nothing anyone can do or say that will minimize that pain. All you can do is feel it, appreciate it for what it is-- a reminder of the everlasting and entire impact of your loved one's existence-- and cherish it. Love your broken pieces, because I promise wherever your loved one is, it is a better place than this Earth. And someday you'll be there too.
I know every day is one day further from when they were alive. And every holiday is a painful reminder that they're no longer here, one more year at a time. But we also need to remember that we're also one year closer. One day closer. To being with them again. I wish someone could tell us that it'll get better, easier, but we all know that's not true. We will just get better at surviving it. And until then, just know you're not alone...and take some small comfort in knowing that whatever piece of you is missing, will be restored someday. We only have to survive until that day.