Title: Christmas Memories
Warnings: Death References
My first Christmas without Ben and I’m wondering how I will survive it. The house is alight with decorations which Hunter and JR worked late into the night putting up. I battled the holiday crowds and did my shopping, the Christmas music blaring from loudspeakers in every store doing nothing to bring that joyful feeling you’re meant to feel at this time of the year. But the gifts are wrapped and piled high under the tree, JR is in the kitchen baking cookies and the aroma from them is drifting through the house. Hunter is shoveling snow from the pavement which is an endless task but he doesn’t seem to mind. He and JR are putting on a united front, determined to bring a festive mood into the house but I know they are struggling with their own feelings.
I wander upstairs to our room; my room now; my fingers absently twisting at Ben’s wedding ring on the chain around my neck. I know he would want us to be happy, remembering the Christmas’ we had spent together as a family and perhaps I am being selfish but the loneliness overwhelms me at times like this and I just want to hide away.
I shiver and walk to the closet, standing on tip-toe to reach my warm jersey on the top shelf but it’s caught on something and after a few tugs it comes free, falling from the shelf and I manage to catch it and the box that follows before they hit the floor.
I turn the box over in my hands wondering where it had come from and walk over to the bed, sitting down and carefully remove the lid.
Tears sting my eyes when I see my name in Ben’s unmistakable handwriting and I tentatively begin to remove the contents.
By the time I had finished the bed was almost covered with every Christmas card I had given Ben over the years and my hands shake as I carefully open the last item.
Photos of every Christmas we had together covered the pages of the album, and I could feel tears streaming down my face as Ben’s smiling face looked up at me. I brushed my hand over my eyes as I opened the card attached to the album.
“My darling Michael.
I can see you sitting in our room, crying quietly as you read this. I did not do this to make you sad but for you to remember all the wonderful Christmas’ we had together. You brought more joy to my life than I thought was possible and I never wanted to leave you but I had no control over life.
We may be parted physically but my love for you will never die. Be happy my love; for the years we had together, for the love and laughter we shared, for our children who brought so much happiness to our lives.
I will never forget your smile, the way your body fitted so perfectly against mine, the way your eyes darkened when we made love, the way you whispered my name, the way you woke me with a kiss every morning.
Memories are not what I wanted to give you for Christmas but they are my most treasured possession after you and one day we will be together again forever.
I love you Michael.
I read and re-read the letter until my eyes blurred and the words ran together and I ached with the need to hear his voice, to see his smile, to be able to touch him one last time, but I eventually moved myself and walked downstairs to find our children, to wrap my arms around them and tell them how much they were loved.
When night came we spent it sitting in front of the roaring fire, eating cookies and remembering all the wonderful Christmas’ we had Ben with us for and knowing that he was looking down on us, a smile on his face, his blue eyes sparkling as Christmas came to our home.