November is a hard month for my family.
If you’ve ever lost a close loved one, than you know that the Holidays can be a little hard. But, losing someone during the Holiday season is that much harder.
Four years ago on November 11th my husbands father passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. He was a sick man, with complications from diabetes, but he wasn’t dying. We went to bed with him with us and woke up to him being gone.
His name is Patrick, but everyone called him Butch.
Butch and I connected with our love of Christmas. He loved it, just like me.
That first year was so hard with out him. Our son was one and we were so looking forward to Christmas with a kid in the house. Butch was more excited than anyone.
Two years ago, on November 15th, we lost my husbands Grandpa.
Grandpa was also sick, but we really had no idea how sick up until a couple days before he passed. The doctors kept telling us he’d get better with a little hard work.
He never got better.
I took care of him the last few months of his life and I am extremely grateful to have spent those last moments with him.
Grandpa Neal was a good man and the only grandpa I really ever had. (All mine passed away either before I was born or shortly after.)
His death was very hard on me.
. And the Holidays without either of those great men are hard. Really hard.
But if there is one thing you learn when losing someone you love, it’s that life goes on. Even when you think it shouldn’t.
The Holidays are no different.
Even when we are at a point in our grief when we just don’t feel like celebrating anything, December 25th is still Christmas. Thanksgiving still happens on the third Thursday of November.
And our loved ones would want us to Celebrate with family and friends. They still want us to enjoy our turkey dinner. They still want us to enjoy the mess of Christmas morning.
Even though our hearts are telling us “This isn’t fair. Butchy is missing out.”
Its not true. They are still with us.
In fact, I believe they have the best seat, front and center.
The first year was the hardest, by far. Especially the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without Butchy.
With the loss so fresh and the grief so strong, the whole family had a hard time enjoying it. But, we came together and did the best we could.
What gave me the strength to even get out of bed when both of them passed, was my kids.
When Butchy passed CJ had just turned one in October and when Grandpa passed he was three and Savanna was one.
They needed me and my husband to be their pillar of strength, yet they were the ones giving it to us.
Plus they were at such a fun age when it came to the Holidays. They were just learning the magic of the season and all the fun things to do.
We couldn’t just stop the Holidays because we were to sad.
And Grandpa and Butchy would never want that, that is one thing I know for sure.
With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas right around the corner, I cant help but feel like
something someone is missing. Because they are.
But, we have two little kids and whole family excited to spend the Holidays together. Making memories and eating good food.
Just the way Grandpa and Butch would want it.
Just because they aren’t sitting at the table with us, doesn’t mean they aren’t with us.
They both live in our hearts and will enjoy the Holidays from the best seat in the house.
If you are going through a loss of a loved one right as we enter the Holiday season, please know it will get better. It will be so hard this year, and hard every other year. But, as every year passes you’ll learn to slowly enjoy the magic of the season again. You’ll find strength in those around you. And you will always carry your loved one with you in you heart.
Happy start of the Holiday season!