I slept in till 7AM, and once awake tried to recall the last Christmas break I spent with Bruce. The holiday has always been difficult for me. First, because I do not celebrate Christmas-so always felt that I did not belong, a troubling theme in my life. Second, because the holidays are about family, and there never seemed to be enough family gatherings this time of year-I was always missing someone-my parents, my cousins, my kids and now my husband. Belonging is my holiday loss, it always seemed that others belonged somewhere on the holidays. Others were invited places and that became a tradition and so they belonged to a group. I was amazed that even my kids were not included in the Christmas's that their friend's families celebrated when they were growing up.
Bruce loved going away for the holidays-just he and I. Most years we went to Hawaii, and in some ways bypassed my feelings about belonging. Who needed to belong when we were miles away from home? But yet there was always this lingering sadness, I was away from my family. The last year we traveled, I watched other families who had traveled together enjoy Christmas dinner at a beautiful resort in Kauai. The children were all dressed up and excited about Santa. They belonged to the big group enjoying the "most wonderful time of the year".
The last year Bruce was alive, we were undergoing the remodeling of our kitchen and I was really sick with the flu. Bruce had the holiday movies on television non-stop. I made a bed for myself on the couch and we sat and watched sappy movies, one after another. Bruce always teared up at the end when Santa, or the angel helped the protagonist find the perfect Christmas gift-love, companionship, a long lost family, a better life. It was a very uneventful holiday, I have difficulty remembering any of the details. But the shape of it still lingers-he and I together on the couch. He, absolutely captivated with Christmas, the music, the myths, the movies. Me, feeling a sense of loss-even then. How ironic.
So today I am going to join my cousins for lunch and maybe the day will pass and hold a little comfort for me. I am almost through this holiday and remain intact.