Morning Meanderings…. Christmas After


It is so crazy what sort of negative anticipation a day can bring.

I was not at all looking forward to this Christmas… the first one without my son Justin.  We did not put up a tree.  I did not cook.  I did not purchase any gifts until December 24th when my husband and I went up town to find things for our son Brad who would be joining us for Christmas Day.  Until that point I had avoided retail stores as I did not want to see the decorations or the happy people eagerly choosing the gift that would make their persons day.

I had been told, from those who has gone before me on this painful path that the anticipation of the “day/holiday” is usually much worse than the actual day.  It is kind of hard to tell because I think by the time I reached Christmas Day I was numb.  I did what I had to do because my son was here and we tried to carry on with a little normalcy.  We watched TV and I gave Brad Justin’s IPAD knowing that I would never be able to use it myself and it would sit in storage until it was obsolete.  We had to guess at Justin’s password and by using his password hints we were able to figure it out, clean out his personal notes and register it to Brad. We also logged him off of his Facebook which 8 months ago was unthinkable.  As you can imagine it was a hard thing to do… but I know it was the right thing to do and Justin would have approved.

Al and Brad played cribbage on Justin’s cribbage board.  Justin LOVED cribbage and Al and he would play for hours.  It was sort of symbolic to use his board for the game.  I felt as though he were including him.


In the late afternoon we drove to the Casino which honestly Justin would have thought was an awesome way to spend Christmas.  We came up with that idea a few weeks ago as they have a seafood buffet.  At the time of decision I kept saying “Oh, we are those people you feel bad for because they have no traditions on Christmas…”  Once there, I seen my opinion on this was incorrect.  The casino was packed but not filled with sad and lonely lost people as I had imagined but couples and friends hanging out and having a good time.  Families were at the buffet and exchanging gifts and I had to change my attitude to maybe this was a nice way for families to enjoy a delicious meal and be together just as much as sitting at home around a tree.

Family traditions can be wherever you land.


I was wiped out by the time we came home around 8 pm.  Being “on” all day and the constant knowing what is missing while you try to keep going forward is exhausting.  I sat down and had a glass of wine out of a glass that Justin had made and hated that he was not here… and so glad I had climbed another milestone of firsts and made it through.  Justin wanted me to be happy.  I am trying kid…  I am trying.



Thank you to those of you who sent me a Christmas card.  That is so nice and I so appreciate your kind and encouraging words.


For those of you signed up to participate in 1st Book of the year, don’t forget to send me your picture!  Looking forward to the post!

20 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings…. Christmas After

  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. The firsts are so hard. This was the 5th Christmas without my son, I lost him on Jan 2, 2011. This was the first year that I was excited for Christmas, I didn’t have to wear that damn mask, we laughed and played games and I knew that my son was there, laughing right along with us. I woke up before everyone else, and in the quiet I remembered all the fun times that we had together on the holidays and I was able to really smile through the tears. I wish I could give you a great big hug and let you know that even though the pain is still there, it doesn’t overwhelm me quite as often. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. ❤

  2. Yes, you should feel good about making it through this milestone – I know it wasn’t easy for you.

    I think many people go out on the holidays now because people don’t want to spend their one day off in the kitchen.

    My dad loved cribbage too and I have many fond memories of the game.

  3. I am sorry for your Loss, Christmas can be a time of hardship for so many reasons, but the First Christmas without someone is the hardest, You should feel proud about making it through this troubling milestone and I wish you all the best for the new year.

  4. Every milestone you pass is one less pain to endure….and you can start new traditions along the way, like the casino. I have some fond memories of the Christmases we spent out, like the year at a Chinese restaurant, with just two of my kids and their partners. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I agree with everyone here. The firsts are the hardest. New traditions and new ways to celebrate will be good for all of you.
    I’ll be sending a photo for First Book of 2016, soon. As soon as I get my DH to take my photo. :).

  6. I am so sorry that you had to go through such a difficult holiday, but thank you for sharing it with us Both my grandmother and one of my brothers loved to play cribbage as well and, after their deaths, my brothers (remaining brothers in the case of Joel’s death) and I made sure to spend a few hours playing in their memory.

  7. It sounds like you all got through through this very difficult day magnificently.
    It’s terrible to have our strength and courage and love put through such tough tests, but the depth of your strength and courage and love is not only admirable to us but hopefully, eventually a solace and balm for yourselves.
    Thinking of you
    Bron xo

  8. I’m so sorry for the difficulty of facing the holidays without Justin. It sounds like you made it through the day with some positive notes as well. {{Hugs}}

  9. Sheila, I want to say the same thing that Brona expressed so beautifully. I hope the year ahead will give you and your family more healing and peace.

  10. i’ve been wondering how your son, Brad, has been doing and how this Christmas would not only be very difficult for you and your husband, but also for him. I remember our first Christmas after losing our daughter. Our younger daughter came home from college and we tried to make it a happy occasion for her, but it was terribly painful. All those traditions from years past were constant reminders. She has come to terms with her loss, as have we, but she now spends Christmas with her dad and stepmom in Hawaii. We either spend ours at home or in Oregon, visiting my mom. It takes several years to establish a new routine and learn to embrace the season, but it’s never the same. You were in my thoughts this past week and I will continue to send good thoughts your way for the New Year. {hugs}

  11. I continue to keep you, your husband and Brad, in my thoughts and prayers. I really cannot imagine how difficult this is for you all. I read a book this past week that had a very positive message of encouragement to live fully for those who have left before us. That sounds good but doesn’t make the pain end. It sounds like you are already trying to find new traditions to celebrate things Justin loved. I hope in time the pain of the loss will ease. May you continue to feel God’s love and strength to see you through and into the new year.

  12. I am so glad you and husband and son Al went out for a nice meal. Then came back home and played cribbage and drank wine using Judtin’s board and glass. It was so aprpropriate given that it was Harry Potter weekend on TV. 😉

    We all more forward and carry in our own ways taking our loved ones with us in ways little and big.

    Hugs of comfort on getting through this milestone occasion.

  13. An incredibly tough day for you but you found a way to celebrate your sons life by playing his favourite game and using the wine glass he made. No wonder you were exhausted at the end, every thing you did would have been filled with emotion.

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