The past few Christmas's have had a bit of a learning curve for my little family. When my father and grandmother both died following Christmas of 2007, the holidays changed for us. The first Christmas without them was the hardest, as we really just didn't know what to do. Many of the traditions we had, sort of revolved around the two of them. So, what now?
I remember opening up a box of my grandmother's Christmas decorations, and just starting to cry. Yes, right there in my garage at 10:00 at night, I stood there, tears streaming down my face, wishing I was there just helping her take down her decorations from the attic, like I had done for the past 20 years. I kept several of her ornaments, and my favorite are the ice skates she crotcheted many years ago. They are among of the first ornaments to go up every year.
After my dad died, I inherited Rodney Reindeer. It was a long standing joke between us, that it really belonged, not him. So when he died, I took it home with me (that night, in fact). It's one of the ways that I keep him with us. He sits high atop our TV armoire, and Cooper knows it's Grandpa's.
Last Christmas was a little better, as we started to make our own traditions, and to choose which traditions we would carry on. This year, I'm focusing on making new traditions and creating new memories.
The holidays seem to be the hardest when you've lost loved ones. This time of year is about family, and celebrating together, and without them, everything changed. But time does heal wounds, and the grief becomes just a little less each year. They are still missed, very much, but with each passing year, it gets easier.