Last year... I looked forward to it and sort of enjoyed it. It wasn't easy being the first year without any Grandparents or our Christmas Traditions which revolved around them and time spent together. It was a little stressful particularly given that I had a lot of big events in the days between Christmas and New Year and so didn't get a rest particularly as some were emotionally challenging/draining.
This year, I'm tired and I would say pretty close to burn out. I'm enjoying being off and having a rest (I'm still in my PJ's and have been all day) but I have no real enthusiasm for Christmas. Truthfully, I've said to several people that I'll be glad when it's over.
Our Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/Boxing Day spent with different relatives and doing different things have ended. We didn't have them last year and our grief made that hard. I'd thought this year would be easier but I don't know now that it will be.
What we didn't know last New Years Eve was that was to be our last with our tradition of getting together with Pat Phil and Stevie. Because Stevie died suddenly and unexpectedly in May. Our grief and the amount we miss him is huge - and for Pat and Phil it's even worse.
I'm really struggling at the moment with the fact that I wrote nothing here about what we did that night; about the fact that it doesn't look like I took any photos. I can't even remember what actually happened beyond it would have involved dancing to music, eating too much watching fireworks in my mums front garden and playing some kind of game - because that's what we always did. And we all loved it. Especially Stevie.
Probably we piled his plate full of food because "mummy doesn't feed you" (he was really small and my mum does huge portions of food for all of us whilst Pat argued she'd given him to much - add that together and you had our feeding running joke.) Chances were Pat and Phil argued about whatever game we played. Stevie would dance around the lounge whilst we played as he couldn't join in and we'd pop in and out between turns or sometimes he'd sit with us and enjoy being part of the group. He'd grin and laugh. We all would.
But unknowingly, last year was our last time. They say blink and you'll miss it. Well, I was there. But then I blinked and I sure as hell missed it. Missed the chance to savor it and I can't remember. How that hurts. But then again I don't think I would have wanted to know it was to be the last time.
I'm spending this New Year's Eve at my friend Sam's house. I'm sure it's gonna be great fun and I'll enjoy it. But it'll also be the first time I've ever been away from my family on that night... and the first time in as long as I can remember when I've not spent it with my adopted as good as "big brother." And that hurts.
I am going to enjoy this Christmas. That's the best way to honour Stevie and my Grandparents and everyone else I loved who has gone on to "the next great adventure." But at the moment it's an unknown... and that's hard. All I know is that I'm going to make it count.