Obviously our Christmas was much changed this year. We kept things simpler, changed a few traditions, and did our best to still share in the joy of Christ's birth. In all the years Paul and I were together, I can't remember even one Christmas Eve spent at home. We would usually head up north to spend time between his family and mine. This year the kids and I stayed home. The first request the kids had about how to celebrate this Christmas was to be home Christmas morning so we could go to the cemetery for dad.
We decided that we would wait to decorate our tree until Christmas Eve. This was also the first time we strung popcorn and cranberries for the garland. It was actually quite fun. Paul's brother came by to snow blow our driveway and brought his wife and daughter along for a visit. It was a very nice surprise to have them come by.
We decided to make our small tree a "rememberance tree;" hanging only the ornaments that represent those family members who have already gone to heaven.
The first five ornaments are for the babies we lost due to miscarriage.
Mercy Jalynn (1999)
Lee Mary (2004)
Mary Lee (2005)
Luke James (2006)
This ornament was given to us by Paul's mother the 1st Christmas after Paul's dad had passed away in 2003
And of course... we have our ornaments for Paul.
This one was a gift from a mom's group I am a part of.
And this one the kids and I found at Target. A perfect reminder since I often told Paul he was my "frog prince." (He was given the nickname Kermy when he was in the military and it stuck between us.)
I really like the rememberance tree and I do believe that if we go back to gettinng a big tree, this small tree will continue to serve as our rememberance tree.
We attended Christmas Eve mass and then came home to watch a movie and have ice cream. At around 10:00pm a friend dropped by with some secrect santa presents (what a blessing!) so the children and I opened a few gifts before heading off to bed.
Christmas morning we went to the cemetery.
We left Paul with a small tree (his favorite part of winter was always the way pine trees looked after a fresh snowfall) and a knight. A couple of the kids had found it and insisted that since he was mom's knight in shining armour he should have one at the cemetery.
It was a nice visit, but, hard leaving. We all felt Paul's absence as we headed up north to visit family. We stopped at Paul's mom's to sing a christmas carol (as we have for the last few years) on our way to my mom's. We spent Christmas day with my family. Then headed back to Paul's mom. We had a good time at both places; but, Paul was never far from my thoughts.
The last couple days have been even harder. I think all the emotions of the holidays have hit. New year's is always a time of reflecting on the year past and looking at the year ahead. It's been a difficult six months. Life can change so fast and so drastically. It's difficult to look at all that lies ahead and know that Paul will not be here with us to share in it. We know he's looking down and praying for us; but, that doesn't make us miss him any less. With God's grace to sustain us, I know we will continue to heal and continue to make our way even though life is so different from what we had planned. I pray this new year is filled with many blessings for all our friends and family. Please know that you hold a special place in our hearts. We are so thankful for the love and support we have been given. Happy New Year to you all.