Friday and Saturday will mark the second year my family will celebrate Christmas without my grandma. Surprisingly, I think I actually handled last year better than this year so far. Maybe it was the shock of the first Christmas Eve without sipping egg nog and brandy at 11pm with her, or maybe it was trying to be strong for those that needed me. But this year my heart aches a little harder and the tears come that much quicker.
There are a few aspects of this Christmas that are particularly hard for me. The biggest is that this is Mike’s first Christmas in California with my family. Because it is his first he’ll never see how she opened each package carefully from the sides to try and save the paper – or how she stacked her bows neatly on the tables to reuse them for the next year. She was truly the product of the Depression Era at times. He won’t see how she devoured fruit cake or cherished the Coca Cola in a bottle that my mom put in her stocking every year. He won’t see how she gushed over a birthstone necklace just the same as a new set of dish towels. That was my grandma.
I know she’ll be with us no matter what, and that’s what I am trying to hold on to this year. I know the Christmas decorations and ornaments she loved. When I get home tomorrow I want to hold them all. I know how she needed her coffee before any presents could be opened. I remember vividly how she would emphatically say, “look at all these presents,” over and over again throughout the morning, in utter disbelief of the generosity bestowed on her by those who loved her most.
My grandma’s heaven is probably one big party this week. It’s filled with Christmas carols, hot chocolate, spiked egg nog and old holiday black and white movies. And from there she is sending us so much love – and I am going to work really, really hard to feel it and send it back.
Merry Christmas Grandma…