Our first without our mother. I had my father, my sister and her family, and brother and his son to our house for dinner, and the day was actually very nice. I did a TON of food prep on Friday, so I could just enjoy my family being here Saturday. The kids had a ball, the controlled chaos of the 5 of them (ages 4-11) opening gifts was really fun to watch. Delicious dinner and nice conversation, and we toasted my Mom and I read two quotes:
"Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it's one day further from the last time you saw each other, it's one day closer to the next time you will."
And this one, because butterflies had such a significance for us this summer during my Mom's time on hospice:
"A butterfly captures our hearts
from the moment the appear.
They are vibrant and graceful
as their presence lifts our spirits.
Gone much too soon,
they will never be forgotten."
I really thought Christmas night I'd have the meltdown, once everyone was gone and the kids were in bed and it was quiet, but I was ok. Going to church yesterday was actually hard. It was the Feast of the Holy Family, and the homily talked a lot about the importance of family, parents being role models for children, etc. They sang Silent Night after communion (the choir at our church is outstanding) and the last verse the piano stopped and it was just singing. It was absolutely beautiful, and out of nowhere I started sobbing. I felt my mother's presence so strongly there in church, but it was a very sad feeling this time. God love my son, he just hugged me. So I got my cry out, it lasted only about two minutes.
My Dad, bless his heart, seems to be ok. With his dementia progressing, he still remembers Mom died but doesn't dwell on this being our first without her. I think my little brother is handling things well in general, though he's divorced and a single Dad to his sweet little 5 year old son, so he has lots on his mind anyway. My sister seemed to be ok too. She said it was the first non-stressful holiday in a long time for her, I think because she wasn't hosting or cooking, so she was able to relax more and just enjoy family time. Like all of us who are grieving, she has good days and bad days. I am thankful Christmas was one of her good days.
Hope all others who celebrated their first holiday without their loved one made it through ok as well.