This was a monumental Christmas to say the least. The first Christmas without my Grandad. The anxiety and stress surrounding the month of December and the lead up to Christmas was experienced in some fashion every day of December. I remember when Amanda and I went out to scout prices and the quality of Christmas trees in the beginning days of December. That same day, we also looked for Christmas decorations and planned for other Christmas extravaganzas. I had a minor melt down at the end of the night because it was the first time that it kind of hit me…this was going to be a different and strange Christmas. My family's first Christmas without our grandfather, father, father-in-law, brother, and husband. It still makes me anxious thinking about it, and Christmas has come and gone four weeks ago.
So, the weeks of December passed one by one. Christmas shopping happened, and it was a reminder that the joke gifts of large jars of pickles and "Clappers" were gone. They were only but memories; memories that I cherish everyday, but miss nonetheless. Terribly. Despite the anxiety and stress that I felt leading up to Christmas, I was excited and so looking forward to the entire family being together for the first time since his funeral. If there is anything I learned from Grandad's illness and demise is that I couldn't have gotten through it without the constant love and support of my family. I recently wrote in my journal that: "I find it peculiar, but comforting all the same, how a family can grow closer when they are in the process of losing one their own." I know deep down in my heart, and I could certainly feel it Christmas morning, that Grandad was there watching us and smiling, because what could have been a sad and depressing day was joyful, full of laughter (and tears), and love.
So, let me tell you about my family Christmas.
After my internship ended, I ventured to my Grandmom's house on the 22nd of December to help with Christmas baking, cleaning, and preparing for a house full of family that was to arrive on Christmas Eve. I have never in my life done so much baking in 24 hours, and I loved it!
One thing Grandmom said prior to Christmas was that she wanted it to stay as relatively the same with the same traditions as we have always had. And that's just what we did.
Christmas Eve dinner at Uncle Mark and Aunt Carolin's with a meal consisting of cannelloni, seafood lasagna, homemade bread, snow squares, and lots of wine! With special guests Uncle Kevin and my Grammy D (from my Dad's side of the family) and Carolin's parents Joan and Bill. The evening ended with a hilarious and rousing game of "Taboo." Exactly how we always do Christmas Eve.
Then there was Christmas day. A long, jam packed, and wonderful day! I'll let the pictures tell the story…
|Christmas tree and gifts on Christmas morning|
|Dad excited about his new leaf blower!|
|And here begins the Farwell-Dickinson Christmas joke gifts...|
|An elf hat that sings and dances,|
|Everyone had a turn.|
|Brad and Uncle Mark - What a duo.|
|Brad thought that stirring the gravy would get him out|
of doing the dishes. False.
And that's our Christmas. Wonderful company, memories were made, gifts were exchanged, laughs were had, and so were tears. But I can say with confidence that Grandad would be proud of us. He was remembered every minute that day with love.
A Merry Christmas to you Grandad. Love, Your #1 Granddaughter. xoxo.