Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Celebrating the Holidays Without My Grandmother

This will be the first Christmas without my grandmother this year. Every Christmas, she and my grandfather would come up to open presents with us under the tree. But now it's just him. I hate to focus on the negatives of such a great day, but I couldn't help it.

I used to get her a Christmas gift every year along with my parents, other grandparents and sister. Indeed, this year I would have found the perfect gift for her: in the gift shop of the bird and butterfly conservatory we went to, all I could think about was how much she would love one of the pretty bird ornaments for Christmas. But what would the point of getting her one be now?

My family experienced this dilemma during Thanksgiving, although given how unpleasant Thanksgiving is for me, this was only one more unpleasant thing. It would have been more difficult if she were alive, because she could no longer take part in the cooking she loved and I would have had to see the pain on her face as my dad did it alone. Christmas is more difficult. Like I said, this morning when I opened presents without her, it was hard. Christmas has always been such a special holiday for me, and part of the reason it was so special was because she was in it. Now it's a little less special.

I guess I'm supposed to just try to take it as it is and deal with what comes. She would want me to just keep my chin up and celebrate it just as always. She wouldn't want Christmas to be less on her account. But still, she's all I can think about.

I've accepted her passing, of course. I've moved on, mostly. I don't expect her to come upstairs anymore; in fact, my sister prefers sitting in her chair now. Thoughts of her don't bring me into all-consuming grief, but are natural. Still, I usually think about her every day for whatever reason. Reminders of her are everywhere.

A lot of kids don't think anything of their grandparents. Sure, they might see them once or twice a year, but it's more of a chore than anything else to them. She was never a chore to me, though she often said she felt like one when her failing health caused her to lose more and more of her independence. No, she was like a second mother to me. I could always turn to her for love, advice and some of her dry humor.

There are so many things I wish I could tell her. What I would do for a day to talk to her! I wish I could tell her about Daisy and Buttercup. She probably would have been squeamish around them (to say the least), but it would be nice of her to know them. They've helped me so much; I know she would have appreciated that. I wish I could tell her that I go to a wonderful school now and my days are finally "good". More than good, in fact. Before, whenever she asked me how school was, I said they were "alright" or "crappy". She always looked so disappointed, saying how it was such a shame someone as bright as me hated school. I wish I could tell her that a boy just asks me on the date and it looks like I'll finally get a boyfriend. So many things. I'm sure there will be plenty more.

A lot of my family members believe in Heaven. It was a belief they did their best to force on me too. I wish I could believe that sometimes, but I don't.

So I'm coping, moving on. Christmas is still fun, of course, even if it's not the same. I'm sure it will get better with time. 
Me (left); her (center); my sister (right). We took this picture last Christmas to put in the frame we gave her. She passed away a few months later.

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