Christmas was always Steve's favourite time of year, despite him working many of them throughout the years. Christmas without Steve was not that unusual as a Policeman's wife, although of course, Christmas without Steve now is completely different. Its permanency is painful and lonely. He loved the big get together, the giving & receiving, the chaos and in particular the food! I recall a Christmas where he came home from work in the morning and so not to upset either side of the family, ate 2 Christmas dinners on the same day. He of course loved it!! This year, as a way of doing something different, making new memories and not to erase over those that exist, we decided to have our first Christmas away from home and familiar surroundings, and took ourselves off to the middle of nowhere, in Norfolk. The children have loved it. The pool and games room on site has kept them well entertained and I have enjoyed the fact that the mess has been created outside of my house. Unfortunately, I have been ill for most of the week, my body I think finally telling me its had enough and it needs a bit of a rest, however try telling that to an 8 & 5 year old! Luckily, we have been joined by family thought our stay, who have played the mandatory games, cooked the meals and have been the lifeguards. Christmas dinner was not an option for me, maybe because Steve enjoyed it so much, so instead we opted for a chicken & broccoli bake, a family favourite. We haven't missed the turkey.
What nobody can prepare you for at this time of year in particular, is the loneliness. And that's not because I don't feel supported or loved. Far from it. I have the most INCREDIBLE friends & family who I know are ALWAYS there. What they can't replicate though is the intimacy and connection that I had with Steve, the randomness of festive traditions we had or the familiarity of receiving gifts and cards from him with his handwriting on..........This is the deep loneliness and hurt which you have to accept, but is the hardest to bear. Christmas will never be the same. They will always be different, but that's not to say they can't be enjoyable. As our second one passes without Steve, we learn to cope and adjust to a new "normal". We make new traditions and enjoy what we can whilst remembering all the special times we had at this time of year as a family of 4. So from my family to yours, we hope you have enjoyed an amazing Christmas time and we wish you a happy and healthy new year. We look forward to some further adventures and memory making in 2018, although perhaps I will learn to slow down a little..........x
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