So many things vanished when you died. As my life moves forward in time, I’ve now reached my first Christmas without you. I absorb all of the absences.
The feeling of the bed all warm and snug like a nest, when you were sleeping beside me.
Smiling at each other the moment we first heard the church bells start to ring across the city on Christmas morning.
Hearing your voice and belly laughter as you enjoyed long, good conversations on the phone with your family.
Stockings stuffed full of little joyful surprises and thoughtfulness. Warm socks, new books, sweet treats, love notes.
The comforting sounds of you cooking in the kitchen, making something soulful and delicious in your French copper pot.
The Christmas Eve fire you made for us, sparkling wine in our wedding flutes, awaiting your eloquent annual toast. Our pup siting at your feet, waiting for her expected treat.
Your loving presence shaped the holidays in so many ways.
But a tidal wave has swept all of that away, and taken you, half my heart, and our Christmas out to sea.
And I am still here.
I am still here with our ornaments, and empty stockings, and French copper pot without your soulful meal simmering inside. I am still here, occupying one half of our bed, eating breakfast quietly across from your empty chair, reading Christmas cards now addressed to only me.
Everything is so very silent.
After five months without you, I am still navigating this new, unfamiliar life. It’s not just Christmas that has changed this year. Everything has changed.
I know one truth.
If I am to not only survive but thrive in this new life, I must adapt to all of the change. This is hard work on every level.
I am still alive. Still breathing. My heart is still beating. The half of it remaining holds a love so great and expansive, it needs a place to go. There is still something inside of me to give to the world. I still have a desire to experience the world.
I want to remain open to life.
If you are gone, and I am still here, then I will fill up all this painful empty space with the most beautiful things I can find.
The most beautiful music, and sunrises, and bright moons and constellations.
If I am still here, then I will read more books, admire more art, and travel to new places. I will clear away what is non-essential and surround myself with only things that bring me joy. I will smile more often at strangers so that we might have more human connections. I will find ways to express all the love I have inside.
I will go forward in life. Even with a broken heart.
In Japan, there is a special art called kintsugi where broken ceramics are repaired with precious metals: gold, silver or platinum. Rather than hiding all the imperfections and cracks, this practice honors and celebrates them, recognizing that once repaired, the object is still of service in the world…with all of its changes, illuminated.
I am a broken bowl, to be filled with gold.