You passed away almost four years ago and I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and call you. To say that I miss you terribly is an understatement. That old addage "You don't know what you've got until it's gone" is so true. So many times while you were alive I resented your meddling in my parenting, in my marriage, in my life. Now I'd give anything to hear some words of wisdom from you...or any words at all, for that matter.
Christmas is a hard time for me, now. But I'm trying to be jolly and happy and hide my deep hurt and sorrow from your grandkids. I know, now, that you must have been doing the same all those years after your mom passed away. Where did you get the strength to go on? How were you able to smile?
You were the anchor of our family. You kept my brothers and me connected. With you gone, things aren't the same. We never had a very close relationship, your children. The age gaps were just too wide. But we at least knew what was going on in each other's lives. Dad is also less connected, now. I don't know if he really means to be, but the choices he makes when it comes to family functions are so unlike those you would have made.
You'll be happy to know that he did make the 3000 mile trip from the West Coast to the East Coast to visit your first great-granddaughter. He also stayed and visited for more than a week. However, his 600 mile trips down to Southern California from Northern California to visit with me and your three grandchildren here (you have one more, now...did you know that? He was born a year after you passed) last about 24 hours, if we're lucky.
I think he's replaced taking care of you with taking care of his 94 year old uncle in Northern California. He uses Uncle as an excuse to not go anywhere or to hasten his return from any visits he does make. He says that when Uncle passes away, he's going to go to Oregon to live on his brother's property. I wonder if he knows how much this hurts me? Why would he choose to live even farther away from his children and grandchildren?
You showed us and taught us that Christmas is a time for family. Yet none of us will be together this year. Dad is staying in Northern California with Uncle. Biggest brother is, of course, clear across the country. Big brother came and visited over Thanksgiving, so he'll be staying in the Bay area with his family.
This is the first year, also, that I have not extended an invitation to my local in-laws. Not because I don't want to see them, but because I was curious to see if Hubby and I didn't invite them to get together, would they? Evidently the answer is no, because we haven't heard from any of them.
So our Christmas Eve will be spent quietly with your grandchildren. Our Christmas day dinner will be a lot smaller than usual and again, spent with just the five of us. And although this should make me happy, it doesn't. I love Hubby and the kids...of course I do. But something is missing from the holidays when extended family isn't part of it.
I'm sorry this turned into such a venting/complaining letter. I hadn't intended it to be. I guess I've just missed being able to talk to you and getting my mother's perspective on things. Talking to Hubby isn't the same. He's a man, so he doesn't quite understand the emotions of we women. Plus he's an engineer, and his thinking is far more logical than mine.
Anyway, Mom... I hope you have a Merry Christmas this year in Heaven with our Lord, your own mother and my brother. Give my love to everyone who've gone Home before and after you, and with whom I hope you'll be having a wonderful holiday party with.
All my love,