Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sadness Amidst the Pretty Colored Lights

I'm very sad tonight. I don't know why it hit me so hard all of a sudden. I think it was driving home from my mother's house at night and seeing all the Christmas lights. I started by telling myself that I could pretend that Leif was still alive, that I could send him a text message or an email, post on his Facebook page. I could pretend he was still living in Tampa and he'd be coming for Christmas. The thought made me smile for a moment or two, even though I knew it was foolishness. Then I started thinking about how denial was one of the stages of grief and wondering whether I had hit that one. I decided I hadn't. I haven't been able to deny Leif's death, no matter how much I might wish to. i haven't done any bargaining with God, either. What good would it do? And I haven't been angry. Why? At whom?

No, I'm just sad. I knew it might hit me sometime during this holiday season. I knew I'd find it hard to deal with Leif not being here, especially without the distraction of grandchildren being here, and without seeing Peter A. and Darlene.

I was talking with Peter W. the other day and saying that since Peter A. was born, I don't think there has been a Christmas that we didn't have more family with us, whether my extended family, or Peter's (when we lived in Germany), or at least one of our sons. The only Christmas that Leif missed (until he died) was the year he was in Bosnia, 1999, and Peter A. wasn't with us, either, but we did have a large family gathering around us in Kansas. So, it's just that one year that we missed seeing both of our sons for Christmas, until now. Peter A. and his family were here last year. This will be the second without either of our sons, but it's vastly different. In 1999, we knew that Leif was alive and serving his country in uniform. He could send email, and we knew we'd get to see him again.

This year, there's no hope of seeing him again, no way to fool myself, no way to make Christmas seem right.

Peter put up a beautiful tree on Sunday, and today he put up the outside lights. They are very pretty, and I do love seeing all the lovely little colored and white lights. Christmas should be a time of happiness, love and hope, but it's hard to feel the same way I used to, hard to realize Leif will not be coming.

This photo of Peter W. and Leif in front of a toy store in Nurnberg, Germany was taken 32 years ago in December 1977. Leif would be three years old in a month. It was during the holiday season of the one year we lived in Nurnberg, and it was so much fun to walk through the walls of the old city into the heart of town, see the Christkindlmarkt (The Christmas Market) near the Frauenkirche (the cathedral) in the square, have a piece of cake at a bakery, and visit the toy stores. The German toy stores were new to the boys then and they were magical. They loved them! There's nothing like children to make Christmas special. They are still so excited about it, so full of wonder.

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