Oh Christmas Season, who doesn’t just love the smells, tastes, and sounds of the holiday? Who doesn’t look forward to the holiday and all the events, shopping, and parties? I will tell you, it is people like you, people who use to enjoy the holiday but are now people who are grieving, people who feel alone. Who else, me. Yes, you heard that right me. I am starting to, I strive to, I am trying to, but it is work. That work begins the minute the decorations start going up around town.
Death does not stop just because there are Christmas presents under the tree or holiday cheer around. Death doesn’t care that it is suppose to be a magical time of year. Death does not discriminate, it comes to us all, young and old, day or night, holidays or regular days.
On December 16th of 2006, our lives changed, our phone rang, and nothing would ever be the same. Our brave, young, and healthy nephew Seth, was serving our country over in Iraq had been injured in an IED attack. December 17th, we received the news that Seth was not able to survive those injuries. The days that followed are a blur of travel plans, funeral details, tears, and pain.
Our holidays now include; panic attacks, tears, anger, fear, laughter, and joy. Some moments we are smiling and laughing, but we are aware at all moments that Seth, is gone. Our tears lie just at the surface, ready to flow over the brim at the slightest provocation. Many good intentioned people have suggested that it is time to just ignore the day of Seth’s death. That we should just return back to who we were before that December day. Their words are well-intentioned, their hearts, want our hearts okay. Our grief may make them uncomfortable and I understand but we are uncomfortable. We are trying to be okay for you but sometimes we just can’t do it, especially in December. It is okay if you want to take a break from us for that month, we wish we could. The truth is the people we were on December 15th are not the people we were on December 17th and no where near the people we are today. I like to think that Seth broke our hearts open to love and feel deeper.
Our holidays are different and that is okay. It is okay that we aren’t okay during them. It is okay to not be okay all the time. It is okay to cry, scream, be silent, or rage. If you are like us it is okay to not be okay. You don’t have to be jolly and bright.
I want to encourage you that it is also okay to be okay again. It is okay to laugh, smile, and dance when you feel the urge. Life is different but it can still be beautiful. It is going to take work. You are going to have to go through the pain there is no way around it. Life will be different, you will be different but you aren’t alone. Find a support group, lean on your friends, talk to the person you loved that has died, I believe they can hear us, or email me. Whatever you do, know that you are not alone and it is okay to not be okay.
If you would like to meet our beautiful boy please take the time to get a glimpse into a life that was well lived, a life that was deeply loved and will be forever missed.