Different Kind of Christmas

This month marked year three; three years without our beloved Grant… and I have discovered a new season. I’ve discovered a new season of loss, not necessarily the season of “the holidays” but another season in the stages of grief. This time, this stage, this season is a bit different from the others. Still sad, still missing Grant more than words could even begin to voice, yet I’m beginning to find strength and treasure the joy in celebrating his life. Don’t get me wrong, I still cry in my coffee and many days I am about one donut hole away from seeking therapy, but this season I have felt like opening my blanket and warming the hearts of others.
Since we lost Grant in early December this means we will now celebrate the fourth Christmas without Grant. The first year I’ll be honest was just pure numbness. A barely twenty-something-days after having our hearts ripped from our chests I don’t think any of us barely remember anything but the bitter cold of winter slapping hurt in our hearts. We were hurt, saddened and raw. The hustle and bustle of the season continued in households around the world. Our Christmas shopping was left undone. Everything that was not purchased or wrapped before December 3rd was just left undone. It didn’t feel right to continue in a happy stupor without our Grantie right along-side us.

The next two Christmases just felt unfair. The routine behaviors of the holidays seemed computerized, get done what needed to be done to make a Christmas that the kids could still enjoy but the hearts of the adults still felt empty without our original family of six in tow. The only way to describe it is a similar feeling of looking into a snow globe. The inside world looked so happy, so beautiful, so unlike what I felt like on the inside. The vision of beautiful, happy families making Christmas cookies, putting up lights, sledding, and enjoying every detail of the holiday season made everyone else’s life look like a hallmark movie. The vision made our family feel as if we were robbed of peace and joy of the holiday season and with an empty feeling that we would never get that joy or peace back. In these last couple of years my eyes have been truly opened to the hurt of others which has shown me that most families have some kind of snow globe mentality of Christmas.

This leads me to this new season of grief: Giving back is where I feel my heart has led me this season; random, anonymous acts of kindness in memory of Grant. In these moments I have felt happiness, fun and joy, laughter and downright pees and giggles knowing someone else felt warmth in their heart, knowing someone else felt cared for and loved on. All of these acts of kindness have had something to do with Grant’s likes, loves, and mischievous fun and humor. Some may have thought of it as a thoughtful gesture, but it truly has been a celebration of how much we love our boy; I know he was laughing and snickering in heaven right along with us. It’s been healing for all of us; the feeling of giving back a bit of his fun and humor has been a priceless feeling of his presence in this difficult time of the year. After all, showing our children and grandchildren that life is more than x-boxes, electronics and toys is important. Sharing with them that the true meaning of Christmas is about love, joy, peace and breathing life into those around us. This season of giving back has filled our Santa sleigh with hope.

As the seasons have passed us by these past few years I have cringed speaking the words good-bye. I’d prefer “talk later,” “see ya,” anything but the words “good-bye.” The holidays are even harder for me when it comes to finding the perfect words such as “til next time,” and “see you next year.” We expect there to be a next time; a tomorrow; a next year. We hear the inner grumbles of our own daily resolutions… Next year I’ll be nicer. Next time I’ll be more cheerful. Next opportunity I’ll compliment them. Next time I will say “I love you” or that “you mean the world to me.” Next time I will say all the things they deserve to hear.
It’s nearly impossible to predict one’s final breath. I was spared the agony of knowing it was Grant’s last day on earth yet cheated because I never had the chance to say good-bye. I would suppose the reason it’s hard for me to feel comfortable ending a day or conversation with those final words would be my feeling saddened that I did not have the chance to say everything I needed and wanted to say to my boy before he left this earth. I feel like I missed his final nod, that he knew … (that he really, really knew) and heard the words… I Love you. I Love you. I love you. And I always, always will. And yet… I know he knew….. Because I always, always told him.
This Holiday season I have thought a lot about gratitude. Practicing gratitude means appreciating the good that other people bring to our daily lives. For the past three years I have been blessed with the kindest gestures of love. I have reflected back on how friends, even strangers, reached out to my family and am so grateful for the kindness and hope that these people have put into our lives. As dark and sad as days have been I felt Grant’s love beaming on me through each and every hug, card, note, Facebook “like”… and every hoot, owl, text, and message.

I recently stumbled upon this beautiful song by Mark Shultz “A Different Kind of Christmas” – my favorite part is:

“It’s time to put the candles in the windows, the lights upon the tree
It’s time to fill this house with laughter like it used to be
Just because you’re up in heaven, doesn’t mean you’re not near
It’s just a different kind of Christmas”

I know Grantie, you are with us, at Christmas-time and everyday. You live on in each one of our hearts, in the joy of these beautiful children, in the silly faces they love to share. The love they show me is a constant reminder of how much you love me. In this season of gratitude and giving back I have learned that to truly bring joy, peace, love and hope back into our lives that we do not have to let go of our Grant in order to do so but continue to bless our friends, family and strangers by celebrating his life.
I’m grateful.
Grants mom

Video link from our family to yours: christmas 2014 kim.


Snow is falling Christmas Eve

Lights are coming on up and down the street

The sound of carols fills the air
And people rushing home, families everywhere

Putting candles in the windows
Lights upon the tree
But there’s no laughter in this house
Not like there used to be
There’s just a million little memories
That remind me you’re not here
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year

In the evening fires glow
Dancing underneath the mistletoe
A letter left from Santa Claus
Won’t be the same this year in this house because

There’s one less place set at the table
One less gift under the tree
And a brand new way to take their place inside of me
I’m unwrapping all these memories
Fighting back the tears
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year

There’s voices in the driveway
Families right outside the door
And we’ll try to make this Christmas like the ones we’ve had before
As we gather round the table, I see joy on every face
And I realize what’s still alive is the legacy you made

It’s time to put the candles in the windows, the lights upon the tree
It’s time to fill this house with laughter like it used to be
Just because you’re up in heaven, doesn’t mean you’re not near
It’s just a different kind of Christmas
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Different Kind of Christmas

  1. Vicki

    Beautifully written, as always. Perhaps “Time heals all wounds” should be rewritten to say,
    “Time changes our hearts.”

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