Last year the thought of Christmas coming had me tied up in knots. How would I get through Christmas Day without him? The day was torturous. Triggery. I had a lump in my throat most of the day, only letting the tears fall when I couldn’t hold them in any longer. My heart was heavy, I was tired and empty. Grief. There are so many words to describe it and yet, unless you’ve felt it, it can’t be described. 

Last year, Christmas shopping was the pits. When Russ was here, I could never figure out what to buy him. Suddenly when he wasn’t, walking the shops was treacherous. I could see a million different things he’d love to receive. Seeing boardies hanging from racks made my heart hurt more than boardies ever should. New converses in boxes had me wishing Christmas would just fuck right off.

This year, I took note of my feelings while I was shopping. Interesting, racks of boardies didn’t stir those same feelings. I was still sad but it was different. I’d grown used to that feeling of lacking. I’d accepted that that chapter was done. 

Last year, spending Christmas Day with his family was heartbreaking. He was missing and it was blindingly obvious. Everyone was heavy. Everyone felt like a part of theirselves was missing. There were quiet tears and hidden sobs. The festivities and laughter was somewhat forced. We all just tried to make it as normal as possible. Our normal had been shattered.

This year, the jovial activities of others was less forced. The laughter was genuine. The feeling of lack was still there but the moments of joy were more prominent. The loss was thinly veiled, still present, but less taxing.

Both Christmas’ I wished one thing, “Come back. Be here. We need you.” Last Christmas is was the only feeling I had. This Christmas it was woven in with all the other feelings on that day. It wasn’t as hard. We’d learned to live without.