The Second Christmas

I think there may be a syndrome out there related to the second year after someone has died. The syndrome is, “I miss you more now than I did the first year you were not here.” I think this syndrome evolves out of the fact that after the first year, you recover from your shock and realize what has actually happened.

Furthermore, if the person died a painful death, you are relieved. You are not glad that the person is dead, exactly, but you are grateful that he or she is no longer suffering. Actually, what you are is overjoyed that you no longer have to stand around helplessly and watch the person suffer. That alone is worth the price of admission. The person is no longer in pain, and you are no longer witness to the pain. Three cheers for that.

In year two after a death, it is as though you awake from your anesthesia of relief to face the fact that the person will not be back. It is not just that you’ve missed being together for this occasion or that occasion. There are no more occasions. Ever. End of discussion.

You will never, ever, ever see that person ever again except in a photograph. You will never hear the sound of his or her voice except in your dreams. It makes the reality of life seem incomplete. Someone who was an inherent part of your existence, a key player in the saga of your life, is gone. Forever. Done.

Can I just say, this totally sucks.

I am surprised by this onslaught of grief. I thought I was done. Good things are happening in my life these days. Everything is remarkably and wonderfully good.  I thought I was on the path to joy and success in all things.

Instead, it is the week before Christmas and I find that I am much worse than I have been since Georg died on September 26, 2013. What is going on here? What is wrong with this picture? Would Georg want me to be so sad? No. No, he would not.

He said over and over when he was failing that he did not want me to be sad. He told me he was not afraid of dying. He especially did not like to see me cry, and so I tried very hard to save my tears always until after I had left him. Sometimes, I would close his front door and the smile on my face would simply break apart and I would sob my way to my car and all the way home. There were lots of tears in those months, but I worked hard not to let him see them.

One day, though, I remember falling to pieces in his living room, standing right in front of him sitting in his gold velour arm chair. I can’t remember why or what exactly were the circumstances. I think it had something to do with his art, and worrying that there were so many unfinished things in his life. Mind you, I was the one doing the worrying, not him.

I just remember that he stood up out of his chair and wrapped his arms around me and said, “shh, shh” very loud and very Greek, like a yiayia (Greek for grandmother) would say to her little baby. In that moment, he was my protector. Even though he was in incredible pain himself, he didn’t want me to absorb any of that. He wanted me to remain calm and be all right.

I suppose if there is one thing that I miss the most about him, it was this. He loved me unconditionally and wanted only the best for me, all the time, every time. In his eyes, I was nothing but beautiful, smart, lovely, and right. I am trying hard to get “right” without him.

It is Christmas and despite all the terrible things going on in the wider world right now, and I mean terrible, (if you are paying even the slightest bit of attention to the news, you know what I am talking about) there is much that is good and pure and wonderful going on at the exact same time. We all get to choose which part we want to participate in. Do we wallow in the “I can do nothing” place or do we act generously to spread Love and Light, to rally our intentions to encourage and increase all that is good and just and right in the world? In fact, isn’t this what Christmas is really all about? A time to bring peace, a time to be generous, a time to share Light.

What would Georg do?

It’s a no-brainer, really, isn’t it? Since I know what he would want, what he would do, and what he would say, I guess I have to admit, he really is not gone. He is not gone at all. He is right here. Always has been, always will be. Right. Here.

christmas tree

This message has been recurring in my last few blog posts, weeks apart. How many times have I said the same thing about Georg not really being gone, using slightly different words? When will I finally believe it?

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