No socks or Cherries.

Posted by samantha covington on

My first last Christmas.

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Note on this post...  This was mega hard on me.  The time in which I am writing it, where Christmas is fresh in my mind, although has made for good content, my mind has just went everywhere with no real place to go.  Finding pics to insert in was even harder.    So, if it feels a little "splotchy" its because my mind was just that, splotchy and instead of changing it, I'm going with it.  Because its me and my true feelings and life.  

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December 23-26th are the hardest grieving days for me.  As the years pass, this time frame has become the hardest topping Birthdays, Angelversaries or any other celebration.  It stings, dammit does it sting.  I'm not talking a bee sting I am talking a bullet ant sting.  The kind that lingers deep, throbbing, leaves you begging for help and comfort.

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Our Christmases have changed periodically throughout the years.  When we would loose a grandparent growing up, we re-adjusted how we did the season.  I remember my first loved one to pass was my great grandma.  We always had a huge celebration at her house Christmas Eve.  The following year, after her passing, I don't remember much difference, only the location.  I was really young so maybe it was more but I can only remember the location changing. 

 

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It was a few years later and we lost my grandma on my moms side.   (My moms step-mom, her real mom died in a car crash when she was 11).  I don't remember that Christmas being much different either except the celebration Christmas Day was smaller and moved to my grandpas house instead of him leaving his house.  So, with each passing of a family member we made changes.  It wasn't until my own parents died, I really knew the "complications" of changing up the way you celebrate such a intimate season.  

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I remember one year my dad took us to Disney for actual Christmas.  We weren't happy as we wanted the cold, family filled, hopefully white Christmas, everyone dreams about but...  Disney is sheer magic during Christmas.  Even though we were so far away from home, my cozy Christmas socks and QueenAnn Cherries were there, in my stocking, waiting for me.  When we were in South Africa one year for Christmas, they were still there, in my stocking....In fact, no matter where we spent Christmas, near or far, my socks and cherries always awaited me Christmas morning.  I truly do not remember a Christmas without them.

 

(Christmas in South Africa)

(Christmas at Disney)

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Allow me to back track here for a bit and for those whom may not know....  I was a rebel, I still feel as though I am to this day, lol but...  I moved to OH after I finished my degree with my parents staying in MN.  It was soooo crazy hard on them.  Until then, I lived right up the street in a townhome, I walked to their house everyday for dinner...  we were oh so close.  But.... even though it broke them, they let me fly.  They never tried to tell me it wasn't a good idea or told me no.  Although they pretended to support me... I knew they wanted to chain me to a wall so I would stay.  We still talked everyday...  Sometimes for hours if that's what I needed.  They would visit me often and I cherished that time together.

 

(Flew to see me)

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My dad was put in the hospital in November of 2008 for a few weeks and it wasn't long after he was released I was on my way up to visit my parents for Christmas in MN.  It was a very long awaited trip, I hadn't been back since I moved to OH the summer before.  I was ready.  That Christmas was everything.  It was prefect, the food, the friends, the family, the love.   My brother came in from AZ where he was going to school, I was there, all of my friends from High School were in town, things were just so perfect.  I don't remember fighting or arguing, which was the usual when you came around our house, haha.  I just remember it peaceful and relaxing, once my luggage arrived 3 days after I did (MAJOR EYEROLL)......

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I had wanted a Wii for Christmas SO bad!!  My dad waited 3 hours outside BestBuy to get me one in negative degree weather.  We played it for hours everyday I was there.....  Hours!  I got everything I wanted that year and more.  My mom and dad made sure nothing went missed.  The cozy Christmas socks and QueenAnn chocolate covered cherries were there in my stocking.  Some parents make Pjs or books a traditional gift, or something else even, mine were the socks and the cherries.  Every. Single. Year.

 

 

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This was my favorite Christmas that I can truly remember.  

(Christmas day, not the best quality pics)

 

 

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It was just such a great Christmas, my mind goes there often and I smile.  At the end of the 10 days, we said goodbye.  It was unusually hard...  typically after 10 days with my parents I was BEYOND ready to leave.  Not this time, I remember trying to miss my flight so I could stay longer.  It was very hard.  I stayed just past the security check point until I absolutely had to leave them.  Looking back, It was odd, this feeling of "goodbye" this time.  Maybe it was my parents who were treating it that way, maybe it was because I was so wrapped up in the beautiful time I just had I didn't want it to end... 

 (The last pic I took with my dad, at the airport)

 

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That February my dad died (Blog post coming soon on this) so this was the last Christmas we spent together as a family of four.  I could not have asked for a better last Christmas with him.   The year went by and we found ourselves entering the Christmas season again.  This time in a way that we had never felt before.  How would we celebrate this without him?  How would my mom want to celebrate without him?  What would all of it look like? 

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I ended up moving back home to be with my mom around Thanksgiving time.  We had so much snow that Christmas, it was a winter wonderland only......there was no Christmas tree, no presents, no décor, no music... nothing that I was used too.  It wasn't to be celebrated the way it was looking.  I never did ask my mom if she did or didn't want too but... I took her clues that no sort of Christmas was happening this year.

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It was a few days before Christmas and she asked me to come in the basement... she asked me to help her bring up the Christmas totes and put the tree up.  She decided last minute to put up some decorations and do a little shopping.  I assumed that this year no socks or cherries would even cross her mind so I prepped myself for that.  It was a very small Christmas complete with Chinese food and Sex and the City Movie on repeat...  On Christmas morning there were no stockings hung, which meant no socks or cherries.  This was the year that tradition as I knew it would dissipate.  It crushed me to no end but I didn't tell her...  I opened a few gifts and the very last gift I opened was a gift box....  It had several things in it... 2 of those things were Christmas socks and Cherries.  She remembered.  Even though she was hurting, she kept that tradition for me.  One she knew I looked forward too.  I still have those socks.  Amidst her pain, she wanted me to feel special and remember the tradition her and my dad started so many years ago.

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We celebrated a few more Christmases before her last Christmas.  She was so sick.  So, So, So sick but.... she made sure that my stocking had a pair of Cozy socks and a box of cherries.  This woman, with the pain of loosing her husband and now cancer, she thought of me.  Some days she didn't even remember my name or where she was but somehow, she remembered the socks and cherries.  I'm telling you, that is one of the best gifts I have received.  I cant put into words my thoughts when I saw the cherries and socks but it is a feeling I have never felt before.  A feeling of sadness, disbelief, love, comfort...  She knew that she would never gift me those 2 things again and I know her heart broke just as much as mine. 

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I wanted to save the box of cherries that year, in fact I don't think I ever ate them.  I kept the box for awhile.  See, grief is such a hard thing, there is no manual you are given, just therapist to help you through your grief journey.  I remember coming across that box, maybe it was the first Christmas without her, maybe the 2nd, I don't remember but... I got SOOOO mad.  Mad at her, mad at God, mad that she wasn't here and I threw them away.  That grief (and this will be an entire blog post, maybe 2 for a later time) is just part of healing.  It wasn't about the physical box, its about the memory I am sharing here with you.  Physical things will always come and go but pictures and memories will last forever.

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I have never been gifted cozy socks or cherries again as the years have passed. I think my hubs may have asked if its something I wanted him to continue for me...  I said no.  The socks will never feel cozy and warm, the cherries will never taste the same, ever again.  I don't want someone to try to recreate that memory for me.  

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Even though, I am forever without my socks and cherries, they are memories I will hold tightly and miss so much, forever.  Maybe one day, when I am ready, maybe...  I will pass that tradition to my girls.  For now, the socks and cherries are mine, in my heart, held tight forever.

 

Thanks for reading friends.  If you are grieving a loved one, know you are not alone.  This journey is hard, real, raw and your own.  Hugs from afar.

xoxoxo,

Sam C.

 


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  • Girl this one was a tear jerker!!! I remember all the good times with your parents. Your mom yelling at Jeremy. The time my dad grandma and I came to visit and your dad made so much food!!!!
    Love ya girl

    Laura Woods on

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