The holidays were difficult this year. Not because of the crowds, or the traveling, or the lack of funds. They were difficult because this was the first year that I’ve spent any major holiday without a grandparent.
I skated my way through my grandmother’s funeral planning. Met with the funeral directors and did all the things that you should do. I felt numb. There were so many things going on. Calls from family and friends. Reconnecting with family that I hadn’t seen in a while. Getting things in order. I don’t think that I truly realized that my grandmother had passed on until I watched them lower the casket into the ground.
I returned to Athens and tried to go on as “normal” as possible. But I couldn’t because I was haunted with hypotheticals. What if I had gone home sooner? What if I had called earlier? What if I had prayed longer? There were several days (and this still happens now) where I would dial her number to talk to her, and realize that it wasn’t possible anymore.
My grandmother loved Christmas. And I mean, LOVED it. She set up all of the little Christmas villages, complete with people and snow; she had special Christmas china that was used, and two Christmas trees so that people on both streets (her house was on the corner) could see her decorations. She always had Christmas candy corn and M&Ms available (even though she was a diabetic). I feel like she could bottle up the atmosphere in her house and sell it as the holiday spirit. However,this Christmas was different. I went home with Christmas with my family, and while it was wonderful, the trip to her house was empty. I was glad to see my father, but it wasn’t what I was used to from the house, at least not at Christmas.
So this Christmas was different. And I’m not sure that I was completely ready to acknowledge how different it would be. It caught me completely off guard. It’s only been a few months since she passed away, but I remember her like I spoke to her yesterday. I remember how she sounded when she answered the phone. What it sounded like when she laughed. Her funny bits of advice. And how she always was so excited about whatever I was doing.
I’m sure she’s still excited about the things that I’m doing, but she’s watching from a different angle. And I still get to talk to her, I just have to ask God to pass my messages on…