How To Survive Christmas

Our cat Zoe after drinking the water from the Christmas tree

I suppose that one way to survive Christmas would be not to have it. An even better way would be to not only have it, but survive and thrive at Christmas. Or any other of the many “special occasions” scattered on the ground of this unfamiliar road, where anything can make one trip and fall.
But we did survive Christmas, if surviving means that we are still here in just as much pain as we were before. Being the survivors of a loved one who died by suicide, is akin to being under the moment to moment assault of withdrawal symptoms-of impossible to fulfill cravings.
At times taking deep breaths gets you through it, but others are like the powerful pull of the ocean’s undertow, they drag you under before tossing you back out to the water’s edge.
As my daughter put it to a friend of hers last night; “You’ve no idea what’s it like.”

Still, we did have Christmas and presents under the tree. To make up the numbers for Andrew’s missing share, my genius daughter wrapped things like Robert’s own mini-ipod, put it under the tree and gave it to him again as a present; another creative one, or I should say two, were the stud finder and hammer my husband had lent her so that she could put pictures up, in her apartment.
Yet another of Florentina’s tricks was to invite some of her friends to join us in the exchanging of presents.
All this creativity augmented the spread under the tree and camouflaged our being Andrewless.

I had said that I didn’t want anything, yet I got a lovely chiming water fountain from Robert; a warm pair of gloves from Hugh (grieving makes me feel the cold more); Florentina found, copied, enlarged and framed a picture of one-year-old Andrew and me. I’ve never had the patience to pose for photographs, even less now that I no longer come out looking as I did ten, twenty years ago. I am paying the price for that, because as a result, there aren’t many recent pictures of Andrew and me. Still, Florentina took all the pictures that she could find and put them in an album for me. On the back she wrote:
“To the most wonderful Mother in the world… Tigger told me so himself.”
You can imagine how the dams burst with that! But that’s not all, do you remember the post I wrote a few days ago about “Andrew’s dirty laundry,” where I write that I enjoy ironing?
Listen to this one: wrapped in pretty paper was a 2010 calendar called “Extreme Ironing,” which is all about people who take their ironing passion to the extreme, by that I mean to extreme places where not only ironing is a challenge, but actual survival. The gift tag that accompanied it read, “To Dizzpops from Tigger via Nanny (Florentina’s nickname).” It was just the kind of thing he would have found funny to give as a present, and I did feel it as coming from him.

As for the meal, I am grateful to the friends who joined us at the Christmas table. Thank you.

And thank you Andrew, for finding ways to let me know that you were there.
I am, as always your loving Mummy.

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7 thoughts on “How To Survive Christmas

    • You are right, also because I see suicide as being caused by what causes people t die of any other illness on the planet.
      That’ll raise a few eyebrows.
      Love, Esmeralda – Andrew’s Mummy

  1. after Kerry, my son, ended his life I tried with all my might to end mine, but…..I failed. I failed because…even though I was grief stricken beyond words, I was not suicidal. you, in my opinion, can not be suicidal without suffering from the mental illness depression

  2. I know these first holidays without Andrew will be painful for you and your family, but I am happy that you are surrounded by those who love you, and whom you also love, to help each other through. You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Wishing much peace and many bright blessings in the new year.

    Love,
    Renee

  3. in silenzio, ti leggiamo e mandiamo tutto l’affetto di cui siamo capaci, in silenzio.
    Non ti è mai capitato di domandarti, in un momento qualunque, se qualcuno sta pensando a te?
    Chieditelo, ora, più del solito. Non sei mai sola.
    Anche se non possiamo neppure immaginare cosa significhi scavare a mani nude il vostro lunghissimo tunnell di dolore, vi sosteniamo e con amore assistiamo, purtroppo impotenti, alla vostra impresa.
    Un abbraccio grande
    Maria

    • Si, cara. Mi capita qualche volta di chiedermi; ma sono davvero sola? Ma la domanda e’ posta solo per dare l’opportunita’ di riaffermare a me stessa che non sono mai sola, anche quando sia dentro che fuori il buio e’ profondo. Ma so che prima o poi il potere della preghiera continua, del “tifo” di amici e parenti, di Andrew, e di noi quattro in quest’isola deserta solo in apparenza, faranno una breccia di pace, piccola forse ma poi sempre piu’ grande, sempre piu’ grande.
      E allora cara, rompi il silenzio per un momento e ricorda alle “truppe,’ ai “battaglioni” di continuare a mandare le “provviste” until we sound the all clear.
      Un abbraccio,
      Esmeralda

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