It’d be impossible to explain to a non-widowed person how I can be sad and happy at the same time or how having many of our shared friends over at the house – OUR house – is both wonderful and miserable simultaneously. While it seems obvious to me why it’s appropriate, it’d be a train wreck to suggest that we set one more place setting for that one very special person who is with us but isn’t going to eat any food, not even desert. No one is going to even see my sad eyes late that evening when the lights go out on unstuffed stockings.
On Christmas morning, not one of my friends or her friends thinks about that absolutely perfect present that’s not sitting on my pillow when I wake up. No one misses that wonderful smile and happy clap that signals I nailed my gift for her. And not one person in my world realizes how much I miss her and what a huge part she played in my life and how loud her absence is on every single day of the holidays while it seems like all the other families are celebrating their perfect little Christmas gatherings. All those other families, with their happy gift unwrapping and their family bickering and their taken-for-granted togetherness have no clue how much I would sacrifice just to have one miserable, boring, regular ol’ plain Christmas with my sweet wife. Just one more time. One more time.
I say the following because maybe I’m trying to tell you or trying to tell myself but nonetheless, I say it and I mean it. My gift to myself is that I recognize that I am one of the few that walk this earth who have experienced true, deep, passionate, respectful, honest love. That experience and that love can never be taken away. I win and I lose. Thus, I’ve been given more gifts and more riches than most people will ever know. For that, I am thankful. For that, I count my blessings. I may have not had a Christmas present sitting on my pillow on Christmas morning, but I have a very wonderful gift sitting forever in heart that can never be taken away. For I have known and shared in true love. There’s no greater gift than that.