I can almost still feel you with me. It’s as if you haven’t really left. Each holiday season I feel that something is missing. Growing up, holidays were always the same. All of the same people got together to do the same things each year. You would think it was boring, but somehow, it was more enjoyable each time.
Christmas always brought the biggest smile to your faces, and I miss it each year. It feels like the older I get, the more people I notice missing on Christmas morning. As the years go on, I notice the empty chairs around the dinner table on Christmas night. I hear the stories of your past, but you aren’t there to tell them.
Christmas morning is my favorite moment of the whole year. It feels as if my whole year leads up to this one time, and then when it’s over, I have to go back to waiting. Growing up, I had a very set way of celebrating. Mommy and Daddy made it a point to make sure that we saw everyone on Christmas. I never understood why I loved Christmas morning so much, until the first Christmas that you weren’t there for.
After waking up and attacking all the surprises that Santa had brought, I would go over to my Grandma and Grandpa’s. We simply ate a homemade breakfast, and once again opened the presents that we had bought for each other. After that, I would head to my Grammy and Pappy’s, and enjoy Christmas with all of my cousins, and my other grandparents. We never saw the change coming, and there was no way to prepare for a Christmas without someone you love.
When I was younger, I never thought about how holidays would change when you were gone. I never thought there would be a time that you would be gone. But, seasons changed and we all aged, and here I am, with different traditions. These traditions no longer revolve the people I held dearest to my heart. But somehow, we kept you included in everything we did. There wasn’t a moment that you weren’t on our minds. There wasn’t a year where we haven’t reminisced about the times that you were with us.
Those people that you loved have continued to preserve some of the traditions that you created. We still make that same Christmas breakfast, just around a different stove. We still gather together in the living room after dinner to exchange gifts, there’s just one chair missing. We can’t forget you, any of you. We can’t forget those holiday traditions either. Although they have changed in slight ways, the biggest change was losing you.
You would think it would get easier after a few years. In a way it has, but I can’t forget those years we spent together. I still think about all the Christmas mornings and evenings we shared. I think about how even though you are gone, we are never able to forget you.
Merry Christmas. I’ll be saving you a chair.