The Second Christmas

December 31, 2015

I assumed the second Christmas without Simon would be easier, with less grieving and hazier memories. We would have “more strength” or a “deeper hope” or some other anecdotal wisdom for coping with loss. It wasn’t easier. There were moments that were really hard and really sad and really REAL. The reminders of his permanent absence were abundant: watching the kids’ Christmas programs without him, unwrapping presents without him, pulling out 11 years of collected ornaments without him, even watching Star Wars without him. And the kids had plenty of heartbreaking questions that felt like a swift punch to the gut. Why did Dad have to die? Why couldn’t the doctors make him better? Are we having our annual party where Dad makes ham and waffles for everyone, but he’s not here so how would that work? And from our youngest, When is Daddy coming home from heaven? The kids’ general behavior had been abnormally feisty and frustrating the first few weeks of this month. After some soul searching and an extra therapy session for all, it merely seemed to be Christmas break anticipation instead of trauma which was a welcome relief. After a few days of no school, being able to wear pajamas all day, and enjoying lighter schedules, the house is a happier, more peaceful place for all.

Even in all the emotional mess, there have been countless moments of joy. Jason has embraced his role as husband and father. Christmas is his favorite holiday and he has helped us all get into the spirit. He bought a giant tree that took up nearly half of our living room and filled the floor with gifts. He reduced his workload for the month to enjoy this season and be present for his new family. The kids were excited for new traditions. We had a daily countdown on our dining room chalkboard, drove around neighboring communities to find the most festive Christmas light displays, and filled our evenings watching holiday movies together. Christmas morning bordered on magical, as the kids squealed in delight over new electronics and toys in our warm, cozy home. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family and it was all smiles and laughter. Delicious food and aged eggnog was enjoyed between games of laser tag and cornhole in the crisp Southern California winter sunshine.

And now it’s New Year’s Eve. The children enjoyed a small second Christmas with packages and treats from Texas family. We leisurely took down the decorations, removed the ornaments from the tree, and patched the living room back together as a family. After an hour of vacuuming, there are still pine needles stuck in just about everything. I’ll remove them by hand over the next few weeks and try to appreciate them as a sweet reminder of all we have been blessed with. Tonight, Jason and I will have a quiet dinner out before Jason leaves for India tomorrow on a two week short film project. 2015 was a year of huge change and we hope 2016 is a year of happiness, health, and being with the ones you love.


  1. Susan Gaines on December 31, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Grateful, happy and speechless.

  2. Neighbor on December 31, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Happy New Year Neighbor! May 2016 bring you and your family joy and much laughter. Congratulations on your new beginnings. The journey is a long one but by God’s grace, there are rays of sunshine hidden in the darkest days.

    • Kristy on December 31, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Hi neighbor!

  3. Judy Colwell on December 31, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I have no words. The second year of widowhood. for me, was the hardest…Don’t think the adjustments that are necessary can be short circuited. There is a progression of time that must elapse before more normalcy can take place. You have an amazing and patient husband, who must love and adore you and the kids, very much, in order to go through these emotions you are experiencing. Praying for you and the entire family as this year evolves into something safe, comfortable, and joyful for all. Happy new New Year…

  4. Leah Petersen on December 31, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    You are doing a great job living life with what you have been given! Hugs!

  5. Ariana on January 1, 2016 at 1:57 am

    It sounds like you all are doing such a beautiful, honest job of living. Bless Jason for bringing so much extra love an care in this year! Happy New Year, Kristy.

    • Kristy on January 5, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Happy New Year to you all!

  6. Brena & John Bruner on January 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Kristy, it’s been sad and wonderful to read your blogs over the past year or two. Sorry we haven’t been in contact before now. We’re heartbroken at your loss yet thankful that God is helping you along each day with a new husband, new life. We think you’re awesome, especially with how you’ve trusted God all this time. Much love, Brena and John Bruner (Mr. Bruner, your former teacher) 🙂

    • Kristy on January 5, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Bruner family!




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