Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The first Christmas without Mom

As regular readers know, my mother died last February.  As the year has worn on, I've experienced a lot of key events, such as my birthday, the family beach trip, and Thanksgiving,  that are different for her passing. 

Now, it's Christmas' turn. 

Christmas was always a big deal when I was growing up.  No matter how poor we were, it was the year's biggest blowout, with presents for all and a grand meal in the late afternoon.  After Mom married Ed and we had more money, Christmas became even more extravagant.  I've certainly carried that tradition into my life, as anyone who's been here at Christmas will attest. 

Mom used to come to Christmas here occasionally, but she hadn't made the trip in recent years.  She'd call, and if I missed her, I'd call back, often reluctantly.  On more than one occasion, I got so busy with our Christmas that I forgot to call until the next day--an occurrence that frequently led her to call here first.  Now, I'd give a lot to be able to make one of those calls.  

She wasn't a big presence in my adult Christmases, but her uncanny ability to give truly amazingly bad presents (e.g., the James Bond wallet holster) made each package from her just a little more interesting for what oddness it might contain.  She spent a lot of time shopping for those gifts, and she always preferred to finish before December or at least as early in December as possible.  She liked stores and mail-order catalogs; Internet shopping was never her thing. 

This coming Christmas, there will be no gifts from my mother under the tree. 

There will be no call. 

I know all this is natural and the way of the world, and most hours of most days, I don't think about it at all. 

Sometimes, though, I feel the loss like a hard punch to the solar plexus that leaves me unable to breathe and waiting, waiting for the moment when air will rush back in and I will be okay again. 


Dan Brooks said...

I'm sorry, again, Mark. The "firsts" without a loved one are definitely difficult. This will be my first Christmas without my Dad, who died in April. For some reason the earlier milestones this year (his birthday in May, Fathers' Day in June, my birthday in July) somehow weren't as bad. Maybe that's because I was still grieving his loss period, and didn't notice the holidays. Thanksgiving I felt it much more, and am missing my Dad even more as Christmas approaches.

Mark said...

I am sorry for your loss, Dan.

Anonymous said...

I still find every occasion my Dad would have attended, empty in a number of ways; and he's been gone 11 years. But then again I was his little girl. I miss him.

Mark said...

I can understand that feeling. I am sorry for your loss.


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