It’s the 3rd.
I’ve been fiercely trying to shove this day of the month to the back of my mind and not deal with it. But the 3rd of every single month will always and forever bring me to a place that I have to confront. Feelings to deal with. Last month was easier to move through the day as we continued to focus on the restaurant, family birthdays and distractions at work.
But not today. Not December 3rd.
Today marks 5 months since Cody died. (I still can’t write that without staring at it for several minutes, taking in the full impact and feeling my heart hurt). 5 months. It seems so long ago, yet today I got swept right back to that horrible first day. I was trying to figure out why this month is so much more difficult than last month. I have the same distractions. We are SO CLOSE to opening the restaurant and with that comes a million tiny last minute details. I’ve picked up extra shifts at work. I’m busy. Distracted.
But it’s December.
I knew it would be hard, this holiday season. But I was expecting it to be difficult closer to Christmas. But Christmas is everywhere already. On houses, in pictures, in stores, on the radio, on tv….everywhere. And each thing is a reminder that I will be missing someone this year. As each day passes I try to plan for a day to haul my decorations out and fill my home with all the things that warm my heart during the holiday season. But my grief tends to paralyze me unexpectedly and without warning. On those days just getting out of bed and being present for whatever I need to do is draining.
Today was one of those days.
But it’s December. Christmas is coming. I can’t stop it from coming. So I’ll keep trying to plan the day for decorating. (Grief, by the way, makes planning things nearly impossible.) My tree always makes me happy, but I’m dreading hanging all the ornaments that were bought for Cody over the years: Baby’s first Christmas, Black Power Ranger, Scooby Doo, a mouse on a skateboard, a few handmade ones from school and many others. I’m trying to start new traditions that will honor Cody and bring us joy as we remember the 27 Christmases we had with him. So as I browse through the thousands of items on Amazon…the silly, the beautiful, the ridiculous, the amazing….I remember the craziness that was gift giving to Cody: Charlie Brown shirt, Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, 3D printed shirts with hamburgers…then later a matching backpack….beanies of every shape/size/color, beanies with crocheted beards attached to them, moon boots, things related to Bigfoot ("He's real, mom"), any article of clothing from Zumiez, skateboard decks/trucks/wheels in dazzling colors and designs, and always, ALWAYS, some insanely silly t-shirt shoved in his stocking.
We haven’t talked much, as a family, about how Christmas will look this year. Maybe we are afraid to. Or maybe we are just busy ignoring it. The four of us have been insanely focused on getting this restaurant open for business. It brings a large amount of stress, but at the same time fills us with immense satisfaction as we see it coming to life. It’s been a blessing of sorts to have something else to focus our energy on. We will eventually be able to breathe and I honestly think there may be some tears as we exhale. Opening day will be exciting and happy and filled with a great deal of “WE DID IT” pride, but it doesn’t change the fact that Cody will not be here for opening day. Or for Christmas.
Or for his 29th birthday, coming up in February.