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Surviving the Holidays

December 26, 2011 - Michael Palmer
Another Christmas has gone and with both my mother and now my wife's mother gone, it has been decided it is time for a new holiday tradition.

I mentioned in a past blog that my wife's mother's house was the traditional place to be for our family Christmas Eve celebration.

We went there and spent the evening with her father, Ray and two of her nephews showed up with their family, but all of them had other commitments to attend and could not stay long.

We cooked a turkey for dinner, made Wilma's famous taco salad and banana pudding for desert. Grandpa Ray ate five full plates of the taco salad, so we guess it passed muster and my wife's nephew cried when he saw the glass dish full of pudding with little 'Nilla wafers stacked across the top.

Grieving during the Holidays is difficult. Especially the first Holiday cycle after the passing of a loved one.

Whatever your age, whatever the cause of death, holidays lived in the absence of a Loved One can be a very difficult time. Customary routines may be attempted, but too soon we realize they are never to be repeated in quite the same way.

The good natured banter and laughter, once flowing so naturally, has become awkward moments of joy that only remind us of the emptiness when it is realized a voice is missing from that chorus of joy. Gift-giving, once so filled with fun, though still filled with the same love is now sad. It was like that when Ray passed out the hand made crayon boxes that Wilma had crafted for all of her great-grandchildren before the holidays.

Familiar songs, once a reminder of the holiday season, can catch in your throat and bring tears to your eyes.

Back home Christmas eve we opened our gifts with the two grandchildren. That was a very joyful time. These two kids were so spoiled this Christmas that they are still torn as to which toy they want to play with.

My dad's house, once the focus of Christmas Day, was just a brief stop in the evening for gift exchanging. Neither of my sisters made the trip for Christmas this year.

So, my wife has decided we need to build a great room or a garage onto the house so we can begin the tradition of Grandma Susie's for next Christmas.

Sounds like the baton has been passed.

We now look forward to a new year, 2012.


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