06 December 2010

A Dose of Christmas

James and I have had a standing tradition since we got married of having a date night. Typically this falls on a Saturday night. Since Ewan was born, we weren't terribly consistent in keeping it, but this past Saturday night we decided to make good on that commitment once again. We went out to a movie.

When we came home, we found an evergreen tree in our hallway, fully decorated and all lit up. A red envelope was perched on the branches at eye level. Our names were on the outside.

On the inside, it was signed: In Christ, Your friends.

I was overwhelmed. Just the day before, I had asked James if we could go shopping for a tree. We had a tiny one last year that was really more of a bush and I wanted this year to be different. And now, here it was -- all ready for us, with a silver "E" ornament hanging boldly on one of the branches.

After getting it set up in our apartment, we turned the lights off. I sat by the tree by myself for a little while. And then without any prompting, the tears came. I bet Ewan would have liked to look at this. I would have had so much fun holding him up to wonder at the lights, to observe him catching his reflection in a shiny ball.

I wanted him here for this. The thought was a hard throbbing in my brain.

One of the nurses decorated these ornaments for us on the night we said goodbye to Ewan

Tears picked up until I was lost in them. I sobbed until I couldn't hold my head up, my eyes red and swollen, my sinuses filling with mucous. I didn't fully understand where this tidal wave was coming from, but I was not going to try and reason my way out of this. It was too much. This was one of those times where it hit me that loss is not a single moment in time from which you recover. Love doesn't end just because a body dies and a casket is lowered into the earth. Love continues, and so the losses compound as time marches forward. Each new day is one where reality deviates from a future that was imagined a particular way for so long, that the lived reality seems as though it must be a horrid fiction.

There was no room to feel ridiculous about feeling this way, about tapping this well of tears two months after the fact. Though its ultimate source was the same, this grief was new and raw. The tears fell hard and hot and fast, picking up speed and intensity.

James sat with me, held me, asked me if I wanted some hot tea, or to take a bath.

There was only one thing I wanted, and I already knew I couldn't have it.

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