Hello friends…here we are. December 26th and Christmas is officially over. The truth of the matter is, we had a harder time in the month leading up to Christmas than the actual day itself. Christmas Eve (night) through Christmas morning were brutal; I didn’t sleep. But thanks to the love and friendship of those willing to be with us and accept us exactly as we are, we made it. In all honesty, we just faked it…pretended it WASN’T Christmas. Afterall, without Kate, it truly wasn’t. How could it be?
The truth is…it’s getting harder by the day as the holiday approaches and the joy around us swells. We are lucky and blessed to have so many friends and family working their butts off to be with us exactly as we are. “Open invitations, zero expectations.” We are lucky and blessed to know that they truly get it why and when we cancel, which we’ve done a LOT of this season. (As in: almost every plan we’ve had thus far.) As my husband said last night, “we Rhoades are not an easy duo to be around right now.” How lucky and BLESSED are we that we have people still willing to try?
Last Christmas, our little family escaped for an overnight getaway that turned out to be one of the best weekends we’ve ever had together. We took Kate to Busch Gardens Christmastown and stayed in an adorable villa just outside of Williamsburg.
This is long. And it’s painful.
Just this past Monday, we marked 11 months without Kate. The next four weeks will bring our first Christmas without her. Our first New Years without her. And then, the 1 year anniversary of that horrific day. The worst 15 hours I will ever live. In just a short time, people will start saying “Kate died last year.” LAST YEAR. A year away from my little girl. A year since I saw her. Then it will be a year + 1 day. Then a year + 2 days. And so on it goes. It’s not as if one year is some magic number. It doesn’t end there. It’s not like “ok, I’ve made it a year, I’m good. She can come home now.”
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” ~Norman Vincent Peale