Friday, December 25, 2015

For Kevin, on Christmas morning

Dear Kevin,

I am writing this letter in the watery light of early morning. I remember when I was a child how Christmas morning held wonder and possibility. The packages were still mysteries and any one was likely to be the best thing ever. Santa was real and had come. I would sit in my room and watch the day gradually emerge into the world; when it was light enough I would burst into my parents' bedroom and demand that we go see what Santa had brought. It was a miracle, every single time.

You were my miracle. More accurately, you are my miracle and one of several I have been blessed with throughout my life and certainly the one with the greatest impact.

The Christmases we had together were just as full of anticipation and wonder. Santa still came, in his own way, through your face as you watched your kids open their gifts, watched me. He came in the light pouring out of you as we hosted our annual Christmas open house, as you glowed in the light of the Hanukah candles. He was in your voice as you laughed with our friends. He was in your touch when we finally found our way to bed, where we would fall asleep, too exhausted to do anything else but full of love.

In some ways this second Christmas without you is more bearable. It's at least a little familiar. In other ways it's worse. This time last year I never would have believed that I would be this okay now. I never would have believed that the love has begun to outweigh the grief. But here I am.

I spent some time yesterday rereading some of my blog posts from the last almost 21 months. It was like diving into very cold, very deep water, that breathless shock and moment of recognition. I am so glad I've been writing my way through it. I'm so glad you kept encouraging me to write for all of these years. I don't know if I would have survived your death without writing. Thank you for believing in me.

I still can't believe that I have written those words, over and over again. Your death. Impossible.

And yet.
Here I am.
It is Christmas morning, the second I've had to navigate without you. Soon enough I will get up. I will have tea and talk with the family you gave me.
Your son. Your daughter. Your distant son. I love them as fiercely as if they were my own. They are my own, in their own way, just as they remind me that I am theirs.
Your daughter-in-law. Your son-out-law, whom you never met. Your daughter-in-law's father, who navigates his own grief along with me. Your ex-wife and her love.
Eventually I will talk to the man I love now, which in no way changes or diminishes the fact that I love you with every fiber of my being. You told me to be happy and I believed you. There is happiness and loss, joy and grief in my heart today, as there is every day.

I love all of these people and each one is a gift you gave me, a miracle in my life. Together we will open gifts and look at each other with wonder. Light will pour out of all of us. I expect most of us will also cry in some way, large or small.

Your name will be on our lips. We will look at your photo and smile. We will tell stories of you. Slowly we are building new traditions that include your absence. You will not be here in body but your light still is. Your energy shimmers about the room and we all still bask in you.

Thank you for the gift of your life.
Thank you for the gift of your love.
Thank you, in some deep and strange way, for the gift of your death which showed us all how it is possible to love so deeply that you will never be gone.
Thank you for being my miracle.

Merry Christmas, Kevin. I miss you. I love you. I always will.


(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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