Today is the day after Christmas. I’ve survived another Christmas. Two without Shayna. Yesterday wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was able to get into the right mindset early in the day to get through it. Yesterday evening I found out George Michael had passed on Christmas day. He was only 53, two years younger than I am now. 2016 has not been good to the people my generation grew up listening to and watching. Now, even the ones younger than I am are going. I sometimes wonder if I’m growing callous about death because these celebrity deaths are not as shocking to me as they seem to be to my peers. I know all too well that none of us are promised 70 or 80 years. 53 is a decent run. And, more importantly, more and more I realize death is not the end, it’s just a new beginning. I’m sad for George’s family and friends. I imagine a hella party with him meeting up with Prince and Michael Jackson though.
Naturally, George Michael is the soundtrack for my run this morning. Today I’m facing the trip to Columbus to do Christmas with my family there. This is going to be tough. Maybe tougher than Christmas day. As we drive up, I feel the emptiness of the seat behind me where Shayna would have sat, poking me in the back with her long legs, through my seat. I can’t say I miss her conversation as Shayna would always fall asleep immediately upon entering the car. And, in the rare moments she was awake, she was listening to her own music or playing games. We’re headed to my brother’s house. He has four kids. My other brother has three. We only have Kayla with us now.
As I do my walk/run and reminiscence to George Michael, I review yesterday in my head. I think about missing Shayna for another year and I make the mistake of letting the years stretch out ahead of me. How many more Christmases will I have to endure? Or, will I simply get used to her not being here? I don’t want to get used to her not being here. I repeat to myself aloud, as I’m running, “It’s not forever. It’s not forever.” This brings me comfort. Maybe I will get used to it. Certainly, I will endure it, but it’s not forever. There will be an end, just as there is an end to all things. The tears come, I let them flow. There’s no one out here, so I not only cry silently as I usually do. I sob aloud. I moan. I let it all come through me. I have to get this out. Melissa Manchester said “Don’t cry out loud.” Somes it’s best to cry out loud. Don’t keep it inside and learn how to hide those feelings. Just let them go.
The weather is strange today. It’s already 53º headed to above 60º, the day after Christmas. I’m running in shorts, a t-shirt and a windbreaker. The wind is blowing and it’s raining steadily. It feels like a tropical storm. I’m soaked all the way through, but I don’t care. The rain matches my tears. I’ve got to these five miles in. I’ve got to get my head right before I get in the car and head up for a day with the family.
We make the trip to Columbus. It’s uneventful. We have the usual insane amount of food. My cousin’s wife is Japanese and we were supposed to have Chinese food, so they brought sushi as an appetizer. But, Dad has decided he wants pizza. So, we have sushi and pizza. For the second day in a row, I eat insane amounts of food. I miss Shayna every moment. I imagine what she would be doing if she were here. Off with Briana, up to something I’m sure. I talk to her. I know her name will hardly be mentioned, if at all. But, I know she knows I am thinking about her, missing her and I keep an internal dialog going with her.
So, Christmas is now officially over. Two down.