Tuesday, December 15, 2009


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.


Jes said...

What a lovely way to honor Henry's favorite items.

SOCKS said...

It's so good to hear this, to hear of "remembering" in a sort of celebration -making a memorial - finding the direction to take that best suits the family in a situation that has meant grief is a way no one else can imagine.

Love survives, fond memories come to the surface, tears flow - and that feels natural and comforting rather than awkward and embarrassing.

I'm glad for you.

rlbates said...

I'm with Jes and Socks. So happy to hear how you are honoring and remembering Henry. {{{hugs}}}

Anonymous said...

How cool that our hero Henry has his own tree---he definitely deserves it.

winecat said...

"So far so good"
That's a gift in itself.

What a wonderful way to include Henry in your holidays with his own special tree.

Arlene (AJ) said...

The tree for Henry is so touching, know he'll be looking down from heaven and loving it. May you all have a beautiful blessed Christmas and peace in your hearts.

...tom... said...


Eeek..!! Late again.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that we will be able to enjoy, truly enjoy, the holidays and family, all the while missing him."

What SOCKS said:

'I am glad for you.'..!!


Anonymous said...

I don't comment much but read frequently about your journey. It sounds like you're doing exactly the right thing; finding what's right for you. All the books, groups and internet spewings can tell you what you're 'supposed' to be but you know in your heart what's right.

I was thinking, if you didn't want to leave a 'Christmas' tree up year round, what about putting Henry's newly converted masterpieces onto a simple ornament tree? They have some in a silver finish that doesn't look like a 'holiday' theme but would set off his items?

Best thoughts for 2010.

Karen said...

Hoping you and your husband and daughters are well. Thinking of you now, post-Christmas.