Another Christmas has passed without my brother, Jeff. He is included in so many holiday memories…from the EARLY Christmas mornings where we’d sneak around checking out Santa’s gifts, to the infamous Christmas golf ball, to more standard memories. This year, more than last, he was truly missed.
He passed away in November last year…about the same time we all start decorating our houses for Christmas. The post-funeral mourning sort of meandered its way into the holiday season…so missing him last year was more like an extension of his initial passing. But this year, Christmas showed up with no pre-Thanksgiving grieving, but with the normal fanfare and anticipation that only one’s children can amplify to the most enjoyable levels. No, this year we’d have no grieving period. But damn was he missed.
Don’t get me wrong…I had a fantastic Christmas with my immediate family. Santa confirmed to my kids that they were indeed good this past year…to record spoiling (and bankruptcy) levels. The food prepared was delicious and filling. And the company of my wife’s family visiting for Christmas dinner was excellent as always. We always keep it simple and have ham sandwiches (real ham…not Oscar Meyer deli meat), three bean salad, potato salad…almost as if it were a summer picnic. After dinner we exchanged gifts. We surprised my in-laws by having their old 8mm home movies converted to DVD. This of course spawned all sorts of stories of Christmases and relationships of the past. This was exactly like the type of conversation Jeff and I would have had.
I laughed at their stories and had genuine interest of the various uncles and their hijinks of yester-year. But deep inside, I missed my brother. I wasn’t grieving any more…I was just missing him.
I’ve been suffering from blogger’s block lately because, frankly, I’ve had nothing but family and “Jeff thoughts” of late. My intent in this blog was never to be a Jeff Grieving site…but to be an outlet to create awareness for skin cancer. So in that regard, let me add one melanoma-related thought.
Melanoma kills people. It kills family. It makes those family members be missed. To keep your loved ones from grieving your illness or your death, do what you can to prevent this mostly- preventable form of cancer.
Don’t be missed.