Ch.232 Second Christmas Without Pat

Ch.232 Second Christmas Without Pat

Dec. 2023

          I just re-read my blog from Dec.26, 2022, exactly one year ago today. Very positive. Optimistic. Full of caring people. Neighbors. My wonderful children. Even a call from a friend/former colleague. I felt loved. I suspect, as part of their caring, these people were all probably thinking the same thing: “Oh, gosh, it’s Dad’s/Ron’s first Christmas without Pat; I hope he’ll be ok.” I was thinking the same thing: “I hope I’ll be OK.” Christmas was Pat’s special day. She reveled in distributing multiple gifts to each family member; she liked getting gifts as well, especially those with emotional resonance. So naturally we all were thinking of her and feeling our loss that day. We supported each other.

          This Christmas felt different. Clearly my daughter Jenny was still concerned. She invited me to her home on Christmas day, telling me that she didn’t want me to go through it all alone. Jenny asked me how I was doing when I arrived; I told her I was “so-so” and I’m sure she understood. That was the extent of our sharing feelings, which felt right. I spent a few hours there sharing a meal and watching her family, plus Joshua and Patty, and one of Elizabeth’s friends, play a card game. We didn’t talk about Pat.

          I just looked up the differences between bereavement, grief, and mourning. According to Google, bereavement is “the state of having lost a significant other to death;” grief is “the personal response to the loss;” while mourning represents “the public expression of that loss.”

          I’m guessing that my period of mourning is coming to an end. I feel less of a need to talk about my loss to others and less need for their comfort than I did last Christmas. I’ve even begun considering ending this blog, although right now I plan to keep writing it for another six months, through my first two years alone.      

     My grief has changed, too. It’s no longer intense. Remembering Pat brings sighs instead of sobs. Again, I’m guessing, but I think this quieter grief will last my lifetime. I welcome it as a steady reminder of the love Pat and I shared for 57 years.