I am in a familiar place with familiar, loving faces. My brother, my sister-in-law and my 3 nieces. I also met up with my dad and puppy here. That's right... my dad took Lily up on his own and now has declared I will no be getting her back. ha.
I usually make my way up here for he holidays. Last year the family actually came to me for Christmas. But, even when I would fly up here (with John) we always left in time to have Christmas Eve and Christmas with John's family. It will be weird... not going to their house for Christmas. I will not be in Florida until Dec. 28... the day after my birthday. I will not be attending the Christmas Eve dinner with the Seays or attending the Christmas Eve service with John's dad at his church. Where we sing Silent Night holding candles in the dark and everyone doesn't know the second and third verses. And John rolls his eyes as I sing in harmony. :) I will not be waking up in the Seay house this year and watching the boys unwrap their gifts.... or doing my gift exchange with my secret Santa. It's all changing. Although I am with my family here... I am still leaving behind my family there. It really makes me feel torn. I always felt that way at Christmas anyway. But, I just wanted to make John happy. I wanted to experience a big family Christmas. And it makes me so sad to know that I lost part of that.
But... I have something to be thankful for. Something I feel many widows don't have to be thankful for. I am still VERY close with John's family. I have met many who have lost their spouse/boyfriend/fiance and have found that the relationship with the family of their loved one have dramatically deminished if not completely fallen apart. Death can turn people against one another. People want to point blame. They want to ignore what happened. They want to disconnect from the reminder of their loss. And often times that means disconnecting from the person that was closest to them. Their wife. Their fiance. Theiur girlfriend. It's a tragic story. But one I am thankfully not having to experience. I think the bond that I created with John's family before his death has reflected a lot in the relationship I have with him after his death. I mean., this was like my second family. I lived with them. I took family vacations with them. When they did something as a family... I was right there with them... holding on to John's arm. A big part of why our relationship has stayed so strong is because the type of people John's family is. They are some of the most loving, thoughtful, sacrificing people you will meet on this planet. Especially Jim Seay.
When I went over for Jim's birthday the other day I was immediately greeted with a hug as I entered the house. Then Jim asked me if I wanted to take a ride with him to pick up the boys. In the car Jim started to burst into tears and let me know he was having a hard day. He said all he wanted for his birthday was John. I lost it two. And there we were. A familiar picture. Jim and Autumn crying together. We are comfortable doing this. We aren't ashamed. We know that it's ok to cry... and then we quickly try to compose ourselves. We picked up the boys and then went back to the house for birthday festivities. Whenever we have our family gatherings now there is just something missing. Obviously John. It's so obvious. It's on everyone's mind. And it drives me crazy that it isn't mentioned. I just want to scream it out sometimes "anyone else notice who's missing????" I always feel like John needs to be recognized. That he's being left out and forgotten. He should be there celebrating with us.
During gift opening I had a mild breakdown. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for about 15 minutes. What set me off? A gift Sarah had made for Jim... DVD's that were a compilation of all their VHS tapes of home videos. Many were of the kids... younger versions of John, Annie, Billy and Henry. Although I did not know this younger version of John Seay... it reminded me of how he was gone. And what remained were things such as these. Video tapes. Proving his existence. John used to always talk about these video tapes and we were always supposed to watch them together and laugh. I cannot imagine the strength it will take for any of his family members to watch these now. For it is something I would not be able to do yet.
When it was time for me to leave Jim walked me outside to the car and hugged me. We sobbed some more and I told him how thankful I was and how lucky I was to have them still in my life. I explained not everyone had that. Jim then told me something that was very insightful. He told me that when he got to Heaven and stood face to face with his son that he would want him to be proud of the way he took care of me and treated me. Jim feels like taking care of me is something that John would want him to do. And I know that John would want me to take care of his family too. And it makes sense. John would never want us to lose the bond it took so many years to create. They are my family. They will always be my family. John is our link and he will remain a strong link throughout my lifetime. Thank God for that. I honestly don't know what I would do without his family. I would surely be lost and I would WAY behind in this journey and process. I know I would be a complete mess without their support and love. How could anyone else be so heartless? How could others turn their backs on those who were loved by their sons? It just doesn't make sense. Wouldn't they want to honor their sons by continuing that love that their child had displayed for another? Wouldn't they see the example that was set before them? How selfish and cold can someone possibly be to cut off this person from their lives? It really sickens me.
I have started reading a book titled "Im grieving as Fast as I can." FINALLY! A book for YOUNG widows! So far everything I have read I can relate to. If you are a young widow I am telling you right now... GET THIS BOOK. You can get it for really cheap on half.com. I think I got mine for 1.50. No kidding. I even bought one for my friend Andi. I am going to post some things from the book later and bring up some interesting points from it. Some things I feel need to be shared.
Update on John's Quilt: I have reached $1000 towards John's quilts!!! I am a few hundred away from covering costs so for that I am very pleased. Thank you to all that have helped me. You don't know how much I appreciate it. I do my best to try and return the favors. Once the quilts are in I will show a list of all donors. It's amazing how many people have helped out. I will forever be grateful. You all are my rock.
Update on mole removal: I removed stitches on my own. I'm sso brave. It was no big deal. And they were ready to go. It's healing nice... still some bruising and swelling. But, it's not as noticeable. For only being 4 days I am impressed so far. I will post a before and after pic soon :)
Update on tattoo: Was supposed to get it yesterday but Andi couldn't go with me. I will get it after the winter break.
Update on birthday: Please join me on Dec. 29th at Columbia restaurant in Celebration at 6:30pm for my birthday dinner.
Only a few more days of surviving the holidays. Then surviving my birthday. Then surviving new years... and ringing OUT 2010.
Really, let's just get this over with.