I know I’ve posted this photo before, but it’s one I can’t help going back to. Especially this time of year. Why? Well, I’m sure you can probably guess the reason. There we are, on the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The four of us. All of us. A family. Seemingly, without a care in the world.
I’ve been thinking about those holiday vacations quite a bit lately. I know, I know. It’s only to be expected, given that Christmas is the day after tomorrow. I mean, Christmas is the one holiday that screams family and love and cheer and togetherness, and there’s really no escaping it. It’s in every store, on TV, in magazines. And don’t get my wrong, Father. I am thankful every single day for my family — for my mom and Janelle and our two wonderful cats. But now? Since you died? Well, our family is just…different. In fact, my mom and I talk about this quite a lot. We can’t really pinpoint what this feeling of “different” feels like — aside from your absence, of course — and it’s not like we’re unhappy.
It’s just the weight of you being gone can feel extremely heavy sometimes. And around Christmastime, that weight bears down just a little more on my shoulders. I can see a family shopping and smiling. A little extra weight. I can see a father and his daughter playing in the snow and making a snowman. A little extra weight. A family putting up a Christmas tree. A little extra weight.
Years ago, I would have been so angry with you. Really angry. Like I’ve said before, I suppose it was just easier that way. It’s so much easier to be angry than it is to feel actual emotions. Back then, I didn’t necessarily have the energy to feel any sort of deeper emotions than surface anger, and it worked for me for awhile. Some might say it lasted a bit too long, but it eventually did subside, and now? I just miss you. And Christmas is making me extra wistful for those vacations of my childhood.
I sometimes — in those lingering moments of anger — that I didn’t have such a wonderful childhood. At least then there wouldn’t really be anything to miss. After all, you can’t miss something you never had in the first place, can you? So would it be easier, then, to just never have had these good times? To not have these wonderful memories? I’m not sure, but I know I’m trying really hard this year to enjoy our life now and the family we are now. I know you would want that, Father. I love you — during the holidays and always! xoxo