This holiday season has been all over the place. In the beginning I told you how afraid of them I was. How I just wanted to crumple them all up and toss them away. Having to brave them with out Ryan feels as though we are losing him all over again. The pain is uncomfortable and at times feels so physical. I'm alive, but my heart is literally broken. Who knew that was even possible? The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed, over enjoyed really with lots of traditions, delicious food and thoughtful gifts.
Ryan enjoyed it and continues to enjoy it. I used to enjoy it ... I need to try and continue to enjoy it.
I've found that in order to enjoy the things around you, you have to be thankful for them. Half of me always asks myself "How can you be thankful? You are walking down a path brightly lit with twinkle lights and garland, people all around buying gifts for their children who will be surprised on Christmas Day. And you are with out your son. You don't get to buy gifts for Ryan, or take him to see the Christmas lights. Or see him sing festive songs. What is there to be thankful for?" I know I've mentioned how extremely easy it is to take the negative path. Sometimes the negative path feels so damn good. Sometimes letting yourself feel the negative and explore those depressed thoughts is needed. But in order to grow and rise from the grief, I have to push through the negative and search for all the beautiful things there are to be thankful for. Ryan is no longer physically with us, but there are still a million and more things to be thankful for.
Being thankful everyday is hard, but worth it.
Dan and I are incorporating Ryan in everything possible during each holiday and of course all the days in between. For Thanksgiving we made a table setting for him. He had his own name tag and plate. It was never used, but it was nice to imagine him sitting there. Actually, that is crazy to imagine. Ryan would have never sat there ... he would have been running around with his cousins. All hot and sweaty shrieking with excitement that all the family was together and here to play. Thanksgiving was exactly this; Me trying to catch him, "No running in the house! Make sure you guys share the toys!" When it came to dinner time Ryan only ate the marshmallows off the top of the sweet potatoes and bread rolls with butter. He had a hilarious phobia of mash potatoes (he was literally afraid of them.) and really the day for him was just about having fun with family. He had the right idea it seems. Having fun with family...isn't that what it's truly all about anyways?
This year I covered my table with craft paper and during our dinner we all wrote down what we were thankful for. Once done writing we shared...
What Are You Thankful For?
Everyone said family. Everyone said memories. Everyone said Ryan.
I'm thankful for three and half full years with my son. I'm thankful for all the memories we made during that time and all the memories to come with him above. I'm thankful for my husband and our ability to hold on each other. I'm thankful for this life of mine. I'm thankful for the future and I'm curious to see where it will lead me.
So, we made it through another holiday! I learned a little more about myself and how to handle this grief. I know it will be hard to try and enjoy the biggest holiday just on the horizon. However, if I continue to focus on all the things I have to be thankful for it may be a little easier to enjoy. This is all so hard and frustrating ... but worth it. It is so worth trying your hardest to live a full life in honor of those we have lost.
Are you going through something difficult right now? Can you try and focus on things you can still be thankful for? It is so hard right? Or is it just hard for me? Let me know, maybe we can help each other as Christmas is approaching...
Photos from our Thanksgiving table ...