Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday activities...

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!

Bringing the family closer during the holidays...

Christmas is approaching as we get nearer to the end of 2009.
What a challenging year this has been…I don’t think I will miss it when it’s gone.

We lost our beloved Andrew this year. That is the hardest blow of all. We miss him. He was
such a good person, fun to be around, always willing to help, friendly, sincere, an upstanding kind of guy – Bill and I were very proud of our boy. He was his sisters’ best friend in the world. He was the one person everyone wanted to be around. He brought your spirits up. Somehow, trying to bring us all up was too big of a weight for him to carry, and he let go.

As it happens, his departure brought our family closer together again. Somehow through
all the pain and heartache, our family has managed to be a little more understanding, a little more tolerant of one another, and a little more forgiving of our faults and failings. It’s not perfect, but we appreciate how fragile we all are and reach for each other a little more often and freely.

One example is our recent move, Lee’s and Taylor’s and mine. Our landlord decided she had to sell the house we had been renting for the past 3-1/2 years and wanted it vacated in 30 days. That was at the end of October. We scrambled around and found a house to move in to just up the street and one block over and set about packing up. We spent Thanksgiving Day cleaning the cupboards in the new house, and then ate a delicious turkey dinner cooked by Jayne, her boyfriend Tyler, and Rebecca at Bill’s house. The cousins, Russell, Sean and Cody, joined us and we all toasted to Andrew.

On moving day, November 29, who should help us but Bill and Tyler, and Lee’s friend Jeff.
Taylor’s friend Nick helped, too, and T never worked so hard in his life. They got it all done on a Saturday, and Becca came over and helped me clean up on Sunday. Then, since we couldn’t occupy the new house for another week, Bill let us stay at his house for the week. Jayne got the rooms ready for us and she and Tyler made us dinner. We were so grateful for their help during this stressful and exhausting time. We were able to take up residency at the new casa on December 4.

The property managers were great, too. After all, they let us move our belongings into the house a week before we could move in, and then when I presented them with a list of things needing attention, they approved it all except for the window cleaning. No problem, I know someone in the business, and yesterday my brother Michael came and washed them all ‘til they sparkled!

The new home is beginning to feel homey now! I think we are going to be okay here. Now we just have to pray Lee’s job situation will work out…his employer is closing in January unless someone buys it and keeps it going. Otherwise, Lee may be self-employed and working out of the garage…

Lee and I both turned 50 this year; Bill too! My baby Becca turned 25 and Jayney is 29. Taylor is 16 looking at 17...still needs to get his permit and start driving. Hopefully he will get a job soon and start the permit process too! Andrew will forever be 26...

More challenges ahead, but with all of us working together, we will make it!
Merry Christmas, everyone. We love you!