Tag Archives: memories

A Joyful Holiday

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Wishing You Joy

Tomorrow is the big day. Christmas is upon us! What kind of shopper are you? I’m of the variety who waits until the last minute and scrambles, hoping to be struck by brilliance and find the perfect gift. Brian was very good at it, so this year has been a little tougher on me without our creative minds working together. Yeah, I’ve had to resort to gift cards in some instances, but I don’t find those impersonal. Kids especially like them because they get to shop for their own loot. I guess I don’t mind them for much the same reason.

What is your day like? Hustle and bustle or subdued and simple? I prefer the latter… big surprise, huh? Our Christmases in Florida started with a morning walk, just Brian and I, while the boys slept in. I remember making breakfasts, sometimes my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls or my mother in-law’s breakfast casserole. Our Christmas dinner was sometimes traditional, but other times not; I made barbecue pork ribs one year. We often made desserts  and treats to enjoy and also give away. The unwrapping of the gifts was quite low-key, especially as we all got older. Very often we would go out in the late afternoon and see a movie together. Definitely subdued and simple!

Some of my best Christmas memories are from the days when the boys were little. For many years we would sleep by the tree on Christmas Eve, letting the boys open one gift that night and save everything else for later. I remember them decorating cookies one year with Brian. Brian Jr’s creations were carefully and creatively decorated, as realistic as possible. Jordan was more of the “let’s pile the icing high and get messy” sort of decorator. Brian was a mixture of both. The Lawsons are an eggnog-drinking family and the kids always looked forward to the first cartons of eggnog showing up on grocery store shelves. A little thing, of course, but a fond memory nonetheless. Not too long ago I was going through one of my mom’s photo albums that was labeled “Christmas” and enjoyed turning page after page of holidays, watching the kids grow up all over again.

This year is different in so many ways. I’m back in the cold with better chances for a white Christmas, although sand is white, so I think I enjoyed those even in sunny Florida! Jordan and I are here together, but we are missing Brian Jr. and that has been hard to deal with. I have an emptier nest than I thought I’d have a year ago. I even checked into flying down just for Christmas Day to make things seem more normal, even if just for 24 hours. The biggest difference, though, is obvious. There’s an important person missing and no plane ticket can change that.

Going through the first holidays after losing someone is supposedly the most difficult. It’s proving to be emotional and lonely. I also hear, however, that holidays will get easier as time goes on, though nothing is ever quite the same again. That thought makes me all the more grateful for the memories I have to hold on to and the days I have left to create new ones. There will no doubt be happy moments in the days surrounding Christmas and on the day itself that will stay with me forever, that will be added to the scrapbook in my mind. Wherever you are tomorrow, however you celebrate the day, take a moment or two to really appreciate the way things have been and the way they are now.  Look forward to the way they will be, no matter what your future holds, but don’t look too far forward. Treasure the here and now. I wish you the merriest Christmas and the happiest holiday.

Holidays = Joy

A Safe Place

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For the first time, I am ready to admit something. I don’t like walking through the downstairs living toom. Every time I do I look to the spot where a hospital bed sat for months and a man tossed and turned and moaned and ached and finally took his final breath. That’s hard to stomach and I can see so clearly in my mind that metal bed. I could trace the outline of it if I were asked. If I sit on the couch, I remember the view I had night after night of Brian’s head as he tried to sleep and the hours he spent playing with the bed control, eventually getting to the point where he wasn’t sure what it was for. Every time I leave and come home, I walk through the living room, past the spot where I used to have to step over the line that brought Brian oxygen; it was always snaking its way across the floor. I tripped over it countless times! It’s the place where I brought meals and drinks and medicine. It’s where a man so energetic and full of life left this world. The room doesn’t look the same to others. Now it has different furniture and the mantle and shelves are decorated again. But to me it looks exactly the same. It’s the spot where I whispered in Brian’s ear on May 27, 2012 that it was okay and he could let go and where I held his arm while a nurse held his wrist and told us when his pulse finally stopped at 12:07am on May 28. It’s the place where I looked across the bed, over Brian’s lifeless body, and just shared a silent moment with my brother of understanding and sadness.

I retreat upstairs a lot to the living room and bedroom of my own that I created in the weeks after Brian’s death. There are only three pieces of furniture that remain that were ours. Everything else is different and it needs to be. Even those pieces of furniture hold memories, but thankfully not memories of death. Brian and I didn’t spend time in the loft or my bedroom, so those rooms where I sit by myself are a kind of safe zone for me.

It’s been said that time heals all wounds, and I suppose that is probably true. But for me, not enough time has passed yet. The pictures in my mind are too vivid. The memories are just too fresh. So I make the walk up the stairs to the safety of my space and I concentrate on the memories before February 10: diagnosis and May 28: death. For now, it’s where I find my peace, my rest, and my joy.

Our Safe Places = Joy