I'm just going to come right out and say it, "Christmas without Terry is not easy." I've tried over and over to put it out of my mind. I thought that if I tried some aversion tactics that I could somehow avoid the knot in my stomach and the rubber band around my heart. I thought that if I skipped the men's socks aisle at Costco, I could forget that I bought him a huge package every year. If I walked with my eyes facing straight ahead when I walked past Fanzz, where they sell the annual Bears cap, that I wouldn't "see" the black background with the bright orange "C" emblazoned on all the merchandize. I won't need to buy a pair of 501 Levis this year and I made every attempt to avoid going to that area of each store. And the candy!! Every bit of it reminds me of him: Terry's Chocolate Oranges, Almond Roca, ZCMI (Macey's) chocolate mints, almonds, chocolate dipped marshmallows, fudge, Book of Lifesavers, and on and on.
None of it worked. Terry is all round. I can't avoid him. He is in every good thing this time of year and always.
There were two tasks in particular that I dreaded. One was putting up the Nativity. The other, decorating the tree (more about that in another post). I chose to do the Nativity first since that was the only responsibility I "let" Terry have when it came to Christmas. We had purchased the set together just three months after we were married. I thought that if I did it first, I could get it out of the way with minimal tears and then move on to the other things. After pulling the boxes out of the basement crawl space, I set them on the piano bench and then reached around behind the piano to plug in the lights. But, when I pulled out the piano, it knocked the Nativity box off of the bench. It crashed to the floor, breaking several pieces. Worst of all, though, was Mary. She had been broken to pieces. I couldn't believe it. I sat down on the floor and sobbed. I cried and cried and cried again. I felt like I had ruined everything. I tried to glue her back together but couldn't see what I was doing through the tears. The glue wasn't working and I was falling deeper and deeper into dispair.
I kept thinking about how if I just hadn't put that box on the bench. If I'd saved the lights until last. If I'd waited and put it up later. If. If. If. It occurred to me that I was mourning for Mary the same way I had been mourning for my boyfriend. Why? Why? Why? A creche is not a creche without Mary. My life is not a life without Terry.
Well, I have since glued part of Mary back together. She can sit up now. She can hold her baby. She is lovely. But, she isn't whole. In fact, there is a huge gaping hole in her body that no one can see. I know it's there because I could hide it if I turned her just so...like I hide mine. The Nativity LOOKS normal but the heart is broken...like mine. It's broken into hundreds of little pieces...just like me.