Mom left today. It was such a great visit with her. The mood is really somber around here though. On the way home, I commented to George how it just doesn't feel like Christmas this season. Yea, the tree is up and the Christmas music is playing, but I don't *feel* Christmas yet. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all the parties and the cookie exchanges. Advent however, went by way to fast for me. I'm missing my Mom, Carol. Saturday was the third anniversary of her passing. And, if that wasn't enough, this is the first Christmas without Mema. Mema is synonymous with Christmas. There isn't a Christmas of my life where Mema wasn't there if nothing but by phone.
Growing up, Christmas day was for presents. Christmas eve however, that was family day. For most of my childhood, before the teen years, it was a day of abstinence. My Grandma would make this bean dish that would be poured over little homemade bread balls. It was really, really yucky. It's a Croatian dish. As we got older, my sister and I were allowed to eat a cheese pizza. Then, in our teen years, they added ham to the menu. I can't tell you how many years I sat at the kiddie table among my cousins or the euphoria I felt when I got to sit at the adult table! One year, four of Mema's six kids, plus all their children were there. It was my favorite Christmas to date. Although it was cold, Pittsburgh cold, it was HOT in the house b/c of all the people! And, even though the family didn't always get along throughout the year, this one day, Christmas eve, all you found was love.
As I got married and got older and moved away, Christmas eve was always about my Grandma. Yes, I wasn't there, but I would call Mema and get to hear everything in the background, the happiness. Then, the phone would be passed around to family. And, even if the phone didn't get passed around, being able to talk to Mema on Christmas eve was all about being home. The last maybe 12 years, Mema stopped doing the Christmas eve dinner thing. Her daughter-in-law, my Aunt took it over. It was okay, but never the same as when Mema had it. And, in the last couple years, Mema and my mom did their own thing on Christmas eve. Still, I would call Mema and literally hear Christmas. This year, I can't do that. This year, a big part of my Christmas is not here. Granted, I'm not some idiot who doesn't get why we have Christmas. I know it's about Jesus, and He makes me happy. But, not having Mema makes life more difficult.
So, here I sit, quiet. Tired. Somber. Another year without my Mom Carol. My Mom, Max left, Dad isn't here...(although he is coming down the end of April for Sarah's conformation) and it's the first Christmas without Mema. My heart hurts. My anxiety level has been through the roof the last few days. I think I've forgotten how to breathe.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Until next time,
Enjoy your Christmas season