Ch.178 First Christmas Without Pat

Ch.178 First Christmas Without Pat

December 26, 2022

            Today is the day after Christmas, but many stores will be closed since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year. Although I certainly missed Pat throughout the weekend, I am grateful that my weekend was filled with loving and caring people.

            On Saturday I had planned to drive 100 miles to Rochester, MN to spend Christmas Eve Day with my daughter Cindy and her family. The Gods of Winter had other ideas, I guess, because a big winter storm brought a minus 30 Fahrenheit wind chill with 25 mph winds and blowing snow to Wisconsin. Instead, I got a surprise phone call from my neighbors Bobbie and Mark, inviting me to share dinner with them, their two sons and their partners, plus Bobbie’s brother and sister-in-law. Mark and Bobbie have been wonderfully supportive of Pat and my Lewy Body journey; during dinner I knew I could mention Pat’s name without bringing the conversation to a halt. They too could speak easily about some of the painful issues they are facing as a family. I am blessed to have these good people as neighbors.

            Then yesterday, Christmas day, I was able to drive to Eau Claire to have dinner with my daughter Jenny and her husband Jeff and daughter Beth (just back from her first semester in college). We ate and watched the Packers play football. Only once did I become tearful, and Jenny was right there with a comforting touch when that happened.

            I even received a visit from Chastity, my colleague for several years at First Things First (our counseling clinic), and her family. She thoughtfully brought me a small grilling stone, a useful implement for a single cook. Another surprise that helped me feel especially cared about on this first Christmas without Pat.

            I know I wrote a little while ago that the day after a holiday is harder than that day itself. That was just after Thanksgiving. But so far today has been ok. Also, by chance, my grief group is scheduled to meet this evening and Wendy, its facilitator, has kindly offered to run it even on her day off. I’ll meet with Sue, another group member, to share a meal just before the group, so today won’t be spent entirely alone.

            Next up is New Year’s Day, which is the six-month anniversary of Pat’s death.  We’ll see how that goes.