It’s here. Christmas. As much as I wanted to deny its coming, it comes- just like every other day whether it’s a day we greet with great anticipation or a day we dread. They call come eventually.
Christmas Eve I spent the day binge watching Netflix. After doing my five-mile loop, Tywana and I did last minute grocery shopping. Kayla made her first appearance downstairs around 3:15 when she announced she was going out to do some last minute shopping. So, I spent the day couch surfing and catching up on my Netflix queue. We had sushi from Jungle Jim’s for dinner. Tywana spent the rest of the evening cooking while Kayla and I kept her company and watched more Netflix. I caught a bit of the midnight mass from St. Peter’s square before we headed to bed just after midnight.
When I got into bed is when it really hit me. Here we are, another Christmas without Shayna. The emotions started to flood up within me. This time it was anger. White hot anger. But, it was anger not toward any person or even a thing, just the situation. I wanted to destroy something. But, there was nothing there to be the object of my anger. So, I focused on it, felt it, acknowledged it. And, then I let it go. The only outlet was sleep. I had made it through another day. It was time to shut it down.
Sleep was blissful. Darkness, warmth in the middle of a cold winter, and no concerns- that is what sleep is. During our sleep, our spirits leave our bodies, visit the spirit world, talk with our guides, and even visit loved ones. Sadly, we normally don’t remember any of this. The last few days I have been sleeping in. Waking up and finding myself back here has been difficult to face. Normally, I pop out of bed. I’ve been reluctantly rolling out lately. When I opened my eyes and it was almost 8 o’clock, I was surprised, but I was still not ready to face the day. I cursed being back in this body. I had to remind myself of the reason I am here, for others. If it were up to me, I’d just stay wherever it is I go when I’m asleep. But, I had to get up, get the prime rib on and get ready for our guests who are coming this afternoon.
The Christmas that Tywana was pregnant with Shayna was the first Christmas we spent in our own house. We started the tradition of having Christmas here with Kayla and the next year with both girls. That carried on until last Christmas when Shayna wasn’t with us. The year before we had gone to the movies with both girls on Christmas day. So, we decided to see a movie last year. Around ten years ago we had Cornish game hens for Christmas dinner. Shayna ate a whole one. It was all she ate for dinner. She called it “bird”. That became a tradition. Cornish game hens have been on the menu ever since.
A couple of days ago I was reading about how we sometimes have to start new traditions. This year, we decided to have a different Christmas dinner. We’re having prime rib instead of “bird”. I was thinking maybe since it’s just the three of us now, we should consider doing something different on Christmas day. I guess Tywana’s brother had a similar thought. He called a couple of days ago and said they’d like to come up for Christmas day to be with Tywana’s mother. Since she’ll be here, that means they’re coming here. So, for the first time ever, we will have guests for Christmas day.
Christmas was Shayna’s favorite day of the year. I will never forget the joy on her face, the sparkle in her eyes on Christmas morning. Of course, as a teenager, the last couple of Christmas’ it wasn’t exactly the same. They had both started sleeping in. The toys were gone, replaced by clothes and electronics. Christmas had lost its magic for me. Kayla and Shayna brought it back. But, what I have discovered, even in the year or two before Shayna’s passing, is you can’t go back. The reason for the extreme depression of Christmas day and other holidays is that we have this high expectation of what an ideal Christmas should be like. We try to recapture that magic. What I realized on Christmas morning was that I had to let that go. I had to look at this as just a day. Another day to be endured. Another day to spend with the people who I do have here and make the best of what I’ve got.
So, we were off to see “Passengers” on Christmas day. It was a good movie. Coincidentally, the main theme of it was for one of the characters to learn to make the best of the situation she found herself in instead of always running off to the next thing seeking adventure.
After the movie, we came home, Tywana finished preparing everything else and I finished the prime rib and an appetizer. Then, the guests showed up, including a surprise guest from Tywana’s mother’s retirement community. I had told Tywana to get the smallest rib roast they had since there were only four of us and I knew her mother wouldn’t eat it medium rare-rare. I was a bit panicked when I found out three extra people were coming. Now, there were four here. But, we just made some oven baked chicken and there was plenty of everything for everybody.
As the day came to a close, we realized we had survived another one. And, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I went to bed feeling a lot better than I did when I woke up on Christmas day.