This year will be different. Christmas will be eighteen days after my husband, Ron, passed away. I am still adjusting but overall have my head wrapped around it and am gradually moving forward with what will now be my “new normal” life.
I’m not having a problem, at least not now, with the idea that Ron will not be with us on Christmas day. That day will play out almost like normal. Time will tell, and the times when people aren’t here may be more difficult than when I have people here as a distraction. In the meantime preparations have kept my mind distracted, decorating, wrapping gifts, and planning meals.
What I am finding is it is the little things you hear, or find, that can really hit the emotions. Two or Three weeks before Ron passed two boxes arrived that said Precious Moments, I am a collector. Ron told me not to open them, they were for Christmas. He put them up in our bedroom closet and that is where they sat. I went to get them and place them under the tree. I will open them on Christmas Day and see what is in them. I knew they were there so it was not an emotional situation, at least not until I saw a green plastic bag containing a box on top of them. I looked inside and Ron had purchased a Christmas ornament while out west that he probably planned to give me at Christmas. It was hand crafted metal works in the design of a motorcycle. Ron knew that even now, five years after my accident, I still miss riding. Discovery of the ornament and the emotional connection of his understanding that I still feel the loss of an activity I enjoyed came through that one Christmas ornament and hit me.
Little things impact you, and make you wonder why. I put both pair of Ron’s eyeglasses into their case. Then I stood there holding the case and had a hard time walking it over and tucking it onto the desk. Why boxing up his glasses had such an emotional impact one can only wonder, but it did.
Small connections with people or comments they make can take you by surprise. A a dental appointment last week a couple of the dental hygienists asked how Ron was doing. One of them,. Patty, got teary eyed when I told her Ron had died. Patty has been cleaning Ron’s teeth since around 1974 when he got out of the service and his mother told him to schedule a dental appointment because there was a cute new hygienist there.
There are other people I have talked to who when told of Ron’s passing said he used to talk about me all the time, that he was proud of me, that he was always talking about what I did, if I outscored him on photo competitions, and more. I never knew he did that all the time. People he had no need to share that with. Then my mind questions whether I did equally as well for him. Did I support him as well as he supported me? I hope so, but the mind still ponders over it.
I am learning to do things I’ve never done, or rarely done in 34 years because Ron always handled them. I have done the banking, paid bills, called the CPA for advise, and will be meeting the financial adviser for the first time ever. I have done minor things such as take the trash out, bring in the mail, change a light bulb, and clean out the frig.
I know in the future I will encounter additional challenges, things I have never done. If something breaks down I will have to call a repairman, when the cars need oil changes I will have to schedule appointments and get it taken care of. I know furnaces need to have their filters changed, but when and how? I don’t even know how to change the gas tank on our grill. My “new normal” is a learning experience. I hope I live up to the challenge.
So as we approach Christmas Day I reflect on the past. Christmases of the past, New Year’s of the past, trips we have taken, traditions we held. I will continue to hold those things dear as I forge ahead into building a new, different, life for myself.