It was not the Christmas we know and love, but a make-do version. And make do we did.
I decided only a few days ago to actually cook Christmas dinner. Before that we were toying with going out for Chinese. But I kept thinking how Mom would react to that if she knew, and I had to do the turkey trot with all the trimmings.
I stayed up until 3 a.m. Christmas Eve cooking and wrapping gifts, then fell into bed for a few hours sleep before Son, DIL and Cutie arrived. We opened gifts, then Son and DIL helped with dinner preparations and we sat down to eat.
It was just all wrong. It wasn't supposed to be here.
After dinner we headed to Sis' house to open more gifts and have dessert. Sis made the chocolate pie Mom always made, and even set aside a bowl of the filling for me the way Mom always did.
But again, it wasn't right. It wasn't Mom's pie. It wasn't Mom's house.
After we left Sis' house the kids and Hubster went to feed Eldest's cat since he and his wife are out of town. I went another direction.
I went to Mom's.
I needed to be there. I needed to feel like she was a part of Christmas, even if she wasn't here. I needed the familiarity of home, the presence of her things around me, even if I couldn't have her here in the flesh.
After an hour or so of talking and yelling and crying and praying and walking from room to room, I left. Nothing had changed. It was still Christmas, and Mom was still dead. The aching in my chest just won't go away.
The rest of the evening I varied between being short-tempered and a zombie. I was short with the kids, with Cutie and her parents, even with Hubster. I will apologize to each of them in turn. They should not have to suffer through my angst regarding this holiday. It's unfair to take my pain out on them.
I'm told holidays get better after the first one passes. I hope we're able to find our way through this, because this holiday was more of a test of endurance than anything else.
I want the joy back.