I’ve always loved Christmas. I enjoy decorating and cooking, going to the Christmas Eve services, waking up Christmas morning early so we can eat, open presents, and visit. I’ve always enjoyed listening to Christmas music, too. Being in a new place and being there without Bryan, however, has forced me to change a few things.
Smooshing a household together when you’re accustomed to your own space is challenging in the best of times. It’s like trying to mix together green clay with red clay. Somehow you manage to get it all smashed together, but it doesn’t always blend easily. One of our smooshing challenges involved our Christmas decorations. In true Bryan style, that man had decorations from possibly before Christmas was even a thing. We had gobs of them. And he wanted them to all be out. I had a few that I wanted to have out, too. So here we went, head-first into decorating.
The next problem came in the form of our decorating style. I’m a bit of an orderly person. Bryan had order, but it was buried deep somewhere and definitely didn’t extend to decorating. So the Christmas decorations at our place usually was a glorious mix of total chaos punctuated by occasional aesthetically-pleasing orderliness. The tree was hopeless.
This year, I found I kind of missed the crazy chaos of our decorating. My Christmas decorating this year was toned down considerably. I have a tree with my well-loved ornaments mixed with a few of his as well as one or two new ones. I decorated the living room a bit and I put a few things in the dining area. I didn’t hang any lights outside so it looks a little sad out there. I just simply didn’t have the energy even though I totally enjoy Christmas lights.
The other thing that’s different this year is the music. As soon as Christmas music came on the radio, well before the food comas began Thanksgiving Day, Bryan would tune in and heaven help the person who changed the station. We were inundated by every Christmas song imaginable. New, old, corny, romantic. Which was fine. I loved it.
This year, I couldn’t bring myself to turn on Christmas music in the car. I simply could not do it. When I decorated my apartment, I couldn’t listen to the songs that Bryan and I would play and sing along to. Then I discovered a station on Spotify called Coffeehouse Christmas. I didn’t hear a single song that I’d heard before. The lyrics were the same, but the music was completely different. It was all new and very modern-sounding. I found that I could listen to it and enjoy putting up what few decorations for which I had the energy.
Time continues on regardless of our tragedies. A spouse dies, we bury them, we sort through their things, we move, we try to adjust to a new life, and while we’re trying to live despite the gaping hole that is a part of our everyday routine, the rest of the world has moved on. The traffic flows the same way it always has, the shops are packed with families shopping for loved ones, Christmas trees are everywhere, and the churches are full with the prodigal families of summer.
Despite the wonderful humans that are in my circle, I feel as if I’m standing alone in a crowd, wanting to grab those who are rushing by, but yet not knowing what to say or if I should even say it. Everyone is busy doing what they should be doing – being happy and living their life. They’re completely oblivious to the sadness that is hanging around the edges of their world. Don’t get me wrong. That’s what I want for them because life’s too short to not be happy, to not love the people in your circle, and to not life your life. Maybe that’s what I want to say. Do the things. Love the people. Enjoy the life.
I’m trying. I’m going out with people. I’m talking with my friends who have been endlessly patient with me. And I’m attempting to make a conscious effort to do the things that make me happy. It’s just taking me a little while to jump back on the train of humanity.
In the meantime, I’m off to go play a little Coffeehouse Christmas.