I broke down and brought the Christmas decorations into the house...I said I wasn't going to decorate because I was too exhausted from the recent move. I guess I lied. I really wanted to put up the kids' stockings. I had made sure to get Andrew's stocking back last year after I had dropped off his gifts. He wasn't communicating with anyone much at that time, holing himself up in his room when people were at the house. He didn't want any presents. I left them for him anyways. I tried to talk to him, but it was a one-way conversation. He listened, but didn't want to talk. I guess that's the last time I saw him until he was in the hospital bed.
Anyway, Andrew saved the Christmas stockings. When I was downsizing back in 2003, I put them in the pile for the yard sale along with most of my old Christmas decorations. Andrew saw them and grabbed them up, saying, "Hey, don't sell those! They are our special stockings Aunt Donna made!"
Okay, I thought, I didn't realize that he was so attached to them. I had been detaching from everything in my life, but that one incident brought me back to the present and I had to consider Andrew's feelings about this stuff. The possessions I kept were narrowed down to my bedroom furniture, clothes, some pictures and knick-knacks the kids had made for me in school, like wooden candlesticks, woven baskets and ceramic pieces and other items that would fit into one bedroom and my 3 X 4 foot rented storage space.
Perhaps that was the thing Andrew couldn't deal with: letting go of the old and forging ahead with a new definition of life. It was hard on all of us, but maybe Andrew most of all. Later, after Bill and I had mad our peace, Andrew still had a hard time being in both of our presence simultaneously. It was uncomfortable for him, probably because he had witnessed both of us struggling with the failed marriage and the resulting pain.
When I hang up the stockings this Christmas, I am hanging up Andrew's right along with the rest. I might even buy him some socks and beef jerky, just like every year. Merry Christmas, my son!