The Pieces That Remain

I’m sitting here in my younger son’s dining room, catching up on some time and attendance entries from the past week, that I put off ‘til it was almost too late, by the light of the full-size Christmas tree and the toddler-sized tree beside it. The toddlers are napping, and their parents have taken advantage of the quiet to grab much-needed naps for themselves. I have to admit that I grabbed a short one myself when I had the chance.

Roger standing behind a snowman with his twin grandsons, one on either sideIt has been a fun day. The twins don’t leave much room for sorrow or grief while they’re playing with their latest Christmas bounty and encouraging Poppy (me) to play along with them. Admittedly, they have been my sole Christmas spark these last few Christmases. The grief, the missing, the longing for what should have been, or could have been, or even might have been still linger. Even in the midst of the joy. But, for a time, they don’t dominate. They seem content to take a back seat to the joy of the grandkids. No, I don’t think they’re ever content. Not truly anyway. But the love and the energy of the twins seems to overcome their desire. Thankfully.

As I typed that, everyone awoke. Sleepy toddlers emerged from their room and headed for the toys. Parents dutifully followed to see what the twins would gravitate toward this afternoon. Toothless the cat rustled the ornaments on the toddler-sized tree before bolting to the sanctuary of the master bedroom.

I hear music from the TV now. I think The Grinch is starting. It’s funny, to me. I don’t decorate my house for Christmas. I just don’t have the energy or the want-to. But I don’t feel like a grinch, exactly. I still feel the joy from the twins and finding that “just right” gift for the kids. I just feel like I’m just not very good at Christmas these days. Shopping has never been high on my favorites list. Ever. Now, however, I can’t seem to find the patience for it. I really just don’t have the patience to deal with the legions of idiots that are also shopping during the Christmas season……or really anytime for that matter. I still want to find that “just right” gift for the kids, but find myself shopping online for it.

I dunno. There is a ton more going through my mind as I sit here typing, but hearing the twins comment on The Grinch as I sit here in the dimly-lighted dining room just doesn’t seem right. So……..The Grinch it is.

Merry Christmas Everyone. I truly hope you can all find something that brings you joy like the giggles of toddlers opening presents or watching The Grinch with them. I know, I’m probably one of the lucky ones in that sense, and I am truly thankful for it!

I’m back….and maybe Dr. Seuss has yet again slapped me in the face with another lesson in grief….or just life.

Snowman pushing a toy lawnmowerMaybe I’m more like The Grinch than I allowed myself to recognize. In my case, “alone” takes on other looks. I have tons of support around me, so I’m not technically alone, but that isn’t to say there isn’t something…..or someone missing that makes a profound impact on my tiny-little-mind. It makes literally everything slightly…or almost unrecognizably…..different.

I’ll be honest here though, I’ve been edging ever closer to becoming Grinch-like long before T.J.’s accident. It just got magnified 100-fold since then. I could probably point to a few moments in time when Christmas changed for me. Grandma Harden passing right before Christmas, Grandpa Harden passing immediately before the next. Mom passing in October of 2003. All of those altered my view of Christmas in varying ways. I was never alone and always had tremendous support from both family and friends through any of them, but each time still left a piece, or pieces, missing out of my own personal Christmas puzzle.

So here we are all these years removed from the first pieces…..two years, and three Christmases, beyond T.J……..and the good Dr. Seuss has once again laid a bit of truth on me. I’ve said before that life since T.J.’s accident has felt like a bad Dr. Seuss book. The reality is that Dr. Seuss is way ahead of me. If only I could write life the way he did. To find a way to make life’s ups and downs and in-betweens actually rhyme and make sense, even in a seemingly nonsensical way that make it (almost) universally palatable by all ages. Oh, I’m sure there are those that see his writing as pure nonsense. Perhaps they should be more widely read. Maybe they just need to read them again from a different perspective. Maybe they should open themselves up to the truth…….no matter how much it hurts initially.

As I type this (some more) at my son’s dining room table, the twins are running in and out, saying “CHEEEEESE” and snapping imaginary pictures with toy cameras or just standing beside me, helping me “work” on my laptop…… always brings me smiles. Again, I am one of the blessed ones.

Pieces of my own personal puzzle will always be missing. It is life. Right, wrong, or otherwise. The twins, and Dr. Seuss, I think, are apparently trying to teach me that the picture in my puzzle is no less beautiful than it was before. Pieces may be missing, and those pieces aren’t forgotten, but the picture is no less complete. There is still a lot of joy in the pieces that remain. And, if I glance at the picture just right and then close my eyes, my memories can fill in the spaces that remain. It’s all in how you look at it. Perspective.

Speaking of perspective…The sounds of virtual toilet(s) flushing are snapping me back to today’s reality. It’s potty training week for the twins and all of the fun that brings.

Nope. I’m not alone. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Lonely is a matter of perspective. It is still there and probably always will be to some extent but, as I look around me, there is plenty of life to increase the size of my own personal puzzle. Please excuse me while I go find a few more pieces.


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