It's 3:02 in the morning; the early hours of Christmas Eve. The rest of my family is in bed already as I should be, but night time is the worst time for someone like me. I spent all day today joking and laughing with my sisters just as I spend most days, taking everything with a light heart, a heap of positivity and a smile. You see, I used to believe that you get out of this world what you put into it, but life is hard, the world can be cruel and time steals all eventually.
I joke so I don't have to think. I laugh to escape the hurt that I have been left with after everything that I have been faced with in my life and I try my hardest to put out only positivity in the world because I know how much life can hurt. You never know what someone may be facing, so it has always been my goal to not add to that ache. Laughter is the best medicine.
It's 3:12 in the morning and the world has settled down. I am alone with my thoughts because when the laughter stops that is all that I am left with. My mind immediately shifts back to those that I have lost because when the laughter stops, I am left with the ache of the missing. This time of year, which used to be my favorite, is hard. Christmas time was always my favorite because of the large family gatherings that no longer happen now that all of my grandparents are gone. Things are different now. Grief knows no limit. It knows no form. It has no time frame. There is never a proper time to say 'okay, you can stop missing this person now' or 'move on'. I don't think you ever really do.
I still see those that I've lost in everything I do. I joke around and try to not be so serious a lot because it is a distraction, but when the distraction is gone I am left with the reality of my loss. I still hear my oldest friend, who I lost due to a car accident, reassuring me when I doubt myself and all of our memories together come back to me like a flood. I still feel my grandma holding my hand and rubbing her thumb across mine when I need comfort. Sometimes I could swear she's standing in the kitchen with me when I'm cooking a dish she used to make all the time. I can still hear her say 'that's my girl' when I finally get the confidence to do something I should've done a long time ago or when something finally goes my way. I still hear her singing her favorite Christmas carols as this was always her favorite time of year. I still see them in every room I walk into and in every place they used to occupy.
It's 3:27 in the morning and I don't know if I should even write this, but the laughter has stopped and this is the reality that many people are faced with at this time of year. While some people gather with their extended families and friends enjoying each other's company, some are just trying to make it through the holiday, where everything has changed, coping with the loss of a loved one. So I want to encourage you to remember this while spreading your holiday cheer and focus on being there for your neighbor because you have no idea what they may be dealing with when the laughter stops.