So far, so good.
I always tell my patients who have suffered a loss to expect a difficult holiday season. So many memories to deal with, expectations to temper, gatherings to weather....
I have figured all year that this 6 week stretch would be intense and painful. So far, so good. Perhaps my low expectations have made it easier to deal with. Perhaps I haven't hit the tough part yet.
I elected for a no-nonsense approach to decorating this year. We lugged all the crap out, decorated with our favorite stuff for a couple hours, and immediately put it all away. Might be good to do it this way all the time. It was like a dental cleaning; I dreaded it, but felt better when it was done.
We bought and decorated a tree for Henry this year. I find it surprisingly comforting. It's got "his" ornaments on it: Lightening McQueen and Sally, some he made, some with photos of him, some he was given. Toward the end of his illness, he became very fond of painting various cheap wooden models we got from the craft store. We put hooks in them and put them on the tree too. Who knew that tanks and fighter jets in rainbow colors would double as Christmas ornaments? I'm really happy to have them on the tree. We haven't known what to do with them, and they are so emotionally valuable. To have a way and a reason to use them, celebrate them, treasure them annually is so comforting to me.
So far, so good. Henry has been gone for 10 months on Christmas. The intense pain that accompanied Mother's day, his birthday, my birthday, so close to his death, has lessened. For this I am grateful. I'm cautiously optimistic that we will be able to enjoy, truly enjoy, the holidays and family, all the while missing him.