Wednesday, November 17, 2010

not the reaction i was hoping for...but maybe the one i needed

here is my papa about to open his traditional gift of Stetson cologne.. that he miraculously ran out of every year around Christmas time!

i had been putting it off.. my mouth would go dry and my palms would get itchy... and i could already hear his voice... i could already see his 6 year old face.. i could already see his little fists balled up in pensive anticipation... because this is the way i picture my brother when i have to say something i don't want to... but the moment came when i just had to say it... "i think we should skip Christmas this year".. about 5 very slow seconds passed before he looked at my mom and asked "is she stupid? are you hearing this?" at which point i begin to make my case... "i don't know if i can handle it this year... it is just going to be too hard.. how about we all go to Disney land instead?".... i was so confident that the Disney land thing would work.. it didn't..."then what?" he asked.. with that same stupid smirk on his face.. full well knowing he had us all where he wanted us..."are we going to cancel birthdays too?"
so... we are NOT skipping Christmas... we are facing it.. whether WE want to or not... so.. i have put my game face on.. i decorated the house early... super early... i have yet to turn on the Christmas music for fear that one of the songs that we sang to him that last Christmas eve will be playing...
i just see him.. so frail.. so sick.. on that last Christmas.. my goodness it was only a few days before he took his last breath... it would be easier to face had he been healthy or were i able to think of him healthy.... we did have beautiful memories... he fought so hard to stay lucid.. to give us a good one...
there was a moment that replays in my mind... my uncle had just put french doors in the kitchen instead of the huge heavy window door... it was finally done and my dad seemed to be gazing in that direction.. my mom asked "what are you thinking about?" (keep in mind that this is a loaded question and while we asked it from time to time i don't think we ever really were ready or an actual answer) my dad answered "about next Christmas"... my mom asked "what about next Christmas?" a whole minute passed....and i can tell you from experience i know what was going through her mind... i knew the answers she thought that were going to come out of his mouth... instead of any of those he said "just thinking about how to decorate the doors" a breathe of relief was heard around the world...this moment reminds me of what he was willing to do for us... the brave face he put on for us...
so.. can i do this for my brother? sure i can... do i hate that he was right all along? sure i do!

1 comment:

  1. It's tough, man its tough. I have two kids, so skipping Christmas was never an option, but its hard. One thing that has helped my husband, with his dad's death and me with my dad's death was to find an ornament that symbolized him. We put it on the tree and although it does at time make us cry, they are healing tears.

    Don't stop living. Your dad would hate that.

    I have lived kidney cancer through my dad, so I know the pain that he went through, as much as a daughter can. I don't know it all, and I pray every day that I don't end up with my dad's fate. It has taken a long time to heal, or really to make grief not a huge priority in my life. Time doesn't heal, but it does change the priority of grief.

    Good luck!