So, it's almost Christmas. It's THAT time of year, the time when I want to just curl away and hide until spring, when hopefully my emotions won't bubble quite so close to the surface and we'll be through the second year of missing Jason. A little more distance from all the pain that crashes into us, knocking away our breath and clinging to memories that hurt so much and at the same time feel so heavy and important and huge that they drag behind us like boulders attached to an ankle chain.
This year, I feel... different. The wound is still very much fresh, still bleeding over everything at times. But I feel just a little bit stronger. A little more accepting. A little more settled into the after instead of pushed down by the weight of before.
I still miss Jason. My kids still miss their dad. Our friends and family still miss his presence... and I'm glad for that. Because he was a beautiful, amazing person and he mattered. He will always ALWAYS matter.
Sometimes Ivy asks for a story at night before bed. I tell her about her father. The little things he did, the funny shared memories, the things he loved and the things he hated. She remembers most of it, but I will tell my children these stories until I die. Because they need them and I need to tell them. He is still, and always will be, tethered to our hearts in this way. And every story weaves a new thread into that connection, keeps it strong.
In the aftermath of Jason's death I became a single mother, something I never ever wanted to be. Something I never thought I could be. But life is life, and fair or not, I didn't get a choice.
You know what I've realized? I'm not alone. God willing, I will never be truly alone. My children and I have only grown closer and I pray that continues.
But again, I'm not really alone.
I'm so very lucky. Right now, I'm hanging out with my boyfriend, eating chinese takeout and having some much needed couple time. And the reason I can do that? I am incredibly lucky to have a strong support system. My parents, who I will never be able to repay for all the support and love they have given me, take care of my kids A LOT. Way more than they should have to. But they do it because they love my kids as much as they love me... and they are always there to pick me up when I falter. My brothers and sisters, they will rush to my side at a moments notice. They are willingly helping me to bear my pain with me and I can trust them with my children because I know they love them as much as I do. So many of our friends, old and new, they help me whenever they can. My children not only have the blessing of a father who loved them unconditionally, they have such great role models who selflessly help me guide them through these rocky times.
So yes, I am a single mom. But I'm not doing this alone. And someday, I will get the chance to be the strong one for them. And I will do it with a heart brimming with the strength of love and family and friendship.
In this season of sorrow, I am giving thanks. I love you all, so very much. Even when I am mean and irritable and full of feeling sorry for myself... I thank you all so much. You are the reason I can do this.