Two and half years later and the holidays are still hard. They are still full of tension and white knuckling it for me. Trying to put on the happy face for my kids and those around me...I don't want anyone's pity or sorrowful expressions, I don't want to break down and cry, I don't want to be a scrooge. I truly want the holidays to be happy, but they still hurt so much. It's still hard to see how much he has missed out on with the kids. It's still hard to go to his parents' house and be surrounded by his family without him there. Knowing how much I still hurt and wondering how they are holding up, but nobody wanting to bring it up. Mostly, it's still hard to acknowledge that it will always be hard. This pain will never not be there.
This year was especially different because we have my boyfriend's three children with us. Knowing they were coming was exciting, it was the first year I've actually looked forward to the holidays because I had someone to make it fun for, and it was the first year my kids understood the concept of Christmas and were actually excited themselves. It has been great to have them all here- it's been a happy distraction to have five kids in the house. They have been so much fun to have around and it's been great for my kids to have some others to play with. There has been lots of smiling and laughing. They all get along beautifully which is such a blessing.
But it brings up for me just how much my life has drastically changed in two and a half years. I feel more and more like I have lived two separate lives and it still is all so surreal. I'm grateful for this beautiful new way of life I'm creating with a wonderful man and his beautiful children because it means that I'm healing, and it means I'm able to find joy and provide happy experiences for my kids, but I still miss Andie so much. I still hurt for how much of him my children never got to know. I still hurt for how much he and I never got to share together as parents. I still can't believe this is all really true most of the time...I hate that the happiest times will always be tainted with the bittersweet pain of loss.