Sunday, 7 December 2014

Looking but not feeling like it

Four years ago I would beg Aaron to let us decorate our Christmas tree and house in mid November.  He would tell me to chill out and at least wait until the Saturday of our local Christmas parade.  It used to be such a fun day to decorate the tree together.  Aaron would crank out the Christmas carols, which he would listen to on his iPod for half of November and all of December.  
Now it is so different.  I dread the months of November to January and just wish I could avoid Christmas all together.  I now see people posting pictures of their Christmas tree on Facebook and Instagram before December and it makes me so sad to know that we would once do the same.
The first year after Aaron passed away we didn't put a tree up at all.   I got away with it because we were selling our house, and I told the boys that it would be easier to not have it up because we would have people coming to look at the house all the time.    Last year we put the tree up, but I put it up in our sunroom, which is a room we don't use at night time.  I knew if I put it up out there, I could avoid Christmas a  little bit because I wouldn't be looking at the tree every night. 
This year I feel strong enough to put the tree up in our lounge room, and the boys were excited to put it up on the 1st of December.  I try not to let the boys know how hard it is for me at this time of the year, and it's nice that they still get excited about it.

This year we went to the Christmas parade with our friends Gary and Lisa and their girls.  I had planned on taking the boys, but it was nice to meet them there.  
When Kobe saw Santa he called out 'hi Santa!! Have I been naughty or good!?'.  
A couple of weeks ago we had our school fair and another teacher and I ran a funny photo booth.  The boys and I had fun dressing up and kind of went with a Christmas theme, with a super hero and weird mask thrown in as well :)   Don't judge me for Kobe's 1D t-shirt! He won it at the fair and was so excited about it, and now wants to wear it everywhere!
Last night we went to an awesome 'Night in Bethlehem' at church.   Everyone had put so much work into it, and everything had been transformed into an amazing market place in Bethlehem.  We decided not to dress up this year, but Jay was a shepherd in the play.  
I wasn't dreading going to the activity, but as the night went on it just got hard.  It's still hard to see families together.  It's hard to sing Christmas carols and to hear how wonderful Christmas is, when you just feel so empty inside.   It's hard to hear how Christmas means spending time with family, when a third of your family are not here anymore.   I am grateful for the reason for the season and that's why I thought it would be nice to go to the activity last night,  but grief always hits me really hard, when I'm least expecting it.  It was a lovely night, but I just went home feeling so sad. 
After church today we went and decorated Aaron and Noah's graves for Christmas.  Aaron used to love Christmas so much, and we always have a laugh about how much he got into it.  I'm sure he loves seeing the Christmas things at his grave, especially his Hawthorn snow globe that a student gave him for Christmas one year. 
I've had comments on my blog and Instagram saying that Aaron and Noah wouldn't want me to feel sad and to dread the Christmas season, and I totally know that, but I can't help but struggle at this time of the year.  I always feel lonely, but this time of the year is a lonelier than usual.   I wish I could just look forward to Christmas, instead of wishing it away, and I'm sure at some stage that will happen, but it's still very hard.


  1. So much love being sent your way Lisa. Mum is feeling so much like you are this year. She hasn't put a tree up and just wants Christmas to be over. It's such a tough holiday for so many people. I wish there was something I could suggest to help but it's just crap that you have to without your loved ones. I wonder if they do anything for Christmas in heaven?! :-)
    Lots of love xoxo

  2. oh Lisa .... I truly feel for you at this time and understand that it must be so very hard. I haven't lost a partner to death but rather divorce and through that divorce have 2 children that have nothing to do with me ...... so I understand living in an incomplete family at Christmas time and how much that hurts. Though I do not understand what it is like to lose to death a son and husband. I did lose my father when I was a child and Christmas has never been the same without him there. My prayers and thoughts are with you Lisa .... may it get easier as the years go by. Lots of Love Leonie (Vicki Travers twin sister).

  3. Please be thankful you have such a supportive family around you (near and afar) God forbid if anything were to happen to my husband, we really would be alone. Be thankful your sweet boys still get excited about Christmas, it would be very easy to go the other way. All the best x

  4. Aaron was the biggest kid eh! I always feel a sigh of relief for you come Feb 1. One day will be the best Christmas ever! I just wish you didn't have to wait so long!! xo

  5. I'm so sorry to hear that it's so hard for you. I hope that one day that Christmas will get easier for you. Stay strong lovely xx

  6. I'm really sorry you had a 'hit with grief' moment the other night - as you say sometimes it strikes when you least expect it. I think that was a big thing to be able to put up the tree in the loungeroom, it doesn't take away the hard though. Renee

  7. My prayer for you is that your boys' excitement can buoy you up when you feel the lowest. I am so very thankful you have each other on this earth. I am sure you will never not feel their absences at Christmastime, nor would you want to, but I pray you can feel Aaron & Noah's love covering you and the boys here.

    Love from the USA

  8. I'm sorry for your heartache. I always admire how you facilitate the kids to experience the joy they can by keeping up with your traditions, despite the challenges. God bless and keep you all!

  9. It must be terribly hard for you at Christmas and it is perfectly natural I think to feel the way you do. Everything takes time. I love your nativity scene on your mantelpiece. You can still dread Christmas but still honour the reason for the season. Blessings to you and your fine young men

  10. The build up to anniversaries are crappy enough without throwing Christmas in the middle of it. Is it possible to hold your breath until Feb? Each year you face gets a little braver and sometime in the future Christmas is going to be awesome again. You are doing more then what most people do for Christmas and you need to give yourself some credit for that, even if it is not like before.

  11. This is my first Christmas season without my husband since he died in April. I love Christmas, and everything about it, and I find that the spirit still bursts in my heart even now -- which is shocking to me. I love the lights, the music, the tree -- everything. I love the reminders of happy years gone by. I try and embrace the Christmas music that makes me feel deeply, and to just really FEEL it all -- the good, and even the painful. If nothing else, it makes me feel ALIVE! :)

    One thing that really, really, helps me is going to the temple at least once a week. I don't know if you have one where you are, but WOW, it really makes a HUGE difference in my life. I need all the power from on High that I can get. The temple makes me feel like Christmas all year long! I go there to connect with Deity, so I can better handle the new load I have to bear. It really is amazing.

    I do have 4 children -- including a two year old -- and so it is hard to feel totally "lonely" but I do miss my Charles, desperately. I really believe loss of spouse is one of the hardest trials you have to face in this life. I have never experienced the loss of a child, and so I cannot even imagine the weight and sorrow you must feel to have lived through both losses. You must be made of something special to endure.

    I also find that it is very hard not to covet what other people have. I have to catch myself from feeling envy, or even twinges of anger, when I see couples all lovey-dovey in the store, at church, or anywhere. I have to remind myself that I am blessed to have known -- and still know -- true love in this life. The new trials I face are so different than what I would have ever imagined. I never thought just seeing a couple holding hands would make me feel sad and lonely. But it does.

    But I am also reminded that there are many sad and lonely people out there. And it breaks my heart. And reminds me I am not alone.

    Do try and let the light of Christmas into your heart. I do my best each day not to dwell so much on life before, and what I had -- because no matter what I do, I cannot bring the past back -- but I really try to focus on what I have this day, today. There is so much light, and life, and happiness to be found, even still. Even without my companion physically by my side. The crazy thing is even though I miss him terribly, and I want to be with him more than anything, I have prayed that God will prolong my life for a very long time, so that I can be the one to raise my children as their mother. As much as I want to be with Charles, I want to be the one to raise my children even more -- no one else will do -- and so I keep on keeping on with anticipation for tomorrow. I still find so much joy living in this beautifully marvelous world. There is so much happiness to be found.

    I pray for you, my friend. My heart aches for you, it really does.

    Just remember it is OK to be extremely happy, even though you have deep sorrow. I find that happiness and sorrow are grand companions, my new constant companions. I am just amazed at how deeply I feel both now, often at the same time. Amazing.

    You are obviously a wonderful and heroic mother. You keep up the good work. The light will come! :)

    Lots of love to you!

  12. Thinking of you all and hoping you feel some Christmas spirit soon.
    Your Christmas tree looks beautiful, well done. Keep safe and take good care of yourself xxoo

    From Susan McGuire, Sydney.

  13. Hi Lisa - I admit I feel the same way, with my only child gone. After more than 2 years, people seem to want me to be happy, and enjoy the holidays, the way my son Jonathan did. That is so easy to say, and so very hard to do. This year I put up my tree for the first time, and cried buckets of tears as I pulled out handmade ornaments (by Jonathan). I try to smile but you know inside my head, I am screaming "WHY?? Why is my son gone? He was my whole world, my only child - he should be here!!". People keep trying to get me to do fun Christmasy things. I get it - I really do. There is nothing any of us can do to make the pain go away, Lisa. I am very glad that you have 3 amazing boys who clearly love you and support you and grieve with you. That is indeed the greatest gift of all.

    Praying for you always,

    Diane (mother of Jonathan Paul Daily, 4/25/87 - 3/1/12)

  14. When my sister was suffering with very bad brain cancer I made her a chemo cap with flames all over it. It was her signal to us that she was mad and she wanted to be mad. She did not want anyone to try to make her feel better either. (Cancer was in that part o her brain.) We honored her request but you would be surprised how many things would make her laugh when we were trying to be mad with her. I think you need a mad hat. XXX

  15. Hi Lisa, I know exactly how you feel. I want to fast forward to February. I used to follow your blog every day up to July 2013, when I lost my own husband aged 43. Suddenly. I've two children, 13 and 10 now. The Christmas tree was a big ‘upsetter’ for me, and still is. It's standing now in the living room waiting to be dressed. I'm going to face it this morning. Everything I do, is for the children. They keep me ‘normal’. At least ‘normal’ on the outside. Best wishes to you and your boys. x


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