Our Christmas was, and still is, postponed. Uncle Bob's funeral was on the 21st of December. I was feeling healthy going into it and had a wonderful time sharing memories of our beloved friend. So much laughter, so many hugs, and so much good food and fellowship! Later that night I started to cough and by the next morning I had a raging fever. It was a rough week to say the least and I lost weight due to not eating much of anything. It is a little over a week later and this is the first time that I am feeling semi normal again. I know it will take me at least another week or so to feel back to what is my "normal" though.
I am not the only one in the family that got sick. Isaiah, Heather, Chris, Rachel, Jaysn, Jeff and now Bradley and his Grandma Tammy have been or are now sick. This thing is NOT fun and seems to affect everyone a bit differently. The one thing it has in common though is that it zaps the strength right out of you.
Gone were the family Christmas parties, going to see our hanai son Ben in concert, and having people over. No Christmas baking was done, Steven did not come over for some special cookie making time, and no Christmas cards were sent out. Everything same to a screeching halt.
What it has done is given me time to rest and time to process some rather complex feelings that I have about loss. You see, we lost Jeff's mother about 3 months ago and, given that she had cut us out of her life a few years previously, I did not grieve her loss then. Now we have lost Uncle Bob, and his loss is one that I am feeling deeply. There will be no more visits, no more hugs, no more sharing stories and me telling Bob that he has to apologize for blowing up at someone (which he would greatly regret after the fact). There will be no more finding Jeff over there helping Bob with a project. No more sitting in the shade in his front yard. No more Bob telling us how much he prays for our boys. Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma were there for our boys and loved them unconditionally, even when my mother-in-law turned her back on us, and in doing that, also cut us off from Jeff's father. They, along with my parents, were the grandparents that my kids depended on, needed and were so deeply loved by. Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma were great friends/family to Jeff and I also. I will forever be grateful for all that they invested and poured their love into our lives. We love and miss them beyond words.
Jeff and I have talked about how different we feel our loss of Bob and Norma compared to the loss of his mother. Jeff reassured me when I was feeling somewhat conflicted about why I had not grieved the loss of his mother when she passed away, that given the circumstances, that we had done our grieving when she first cut us off for good. That cut us both to the core and it was a "death" of our relationship with them. We would no longer be allowed in their lives. It did not make sense then and it still does not make sense. I will never understand how they could do that to our children and to their own son. It was cruel, evil and twisted. It honestly put me into therapy where both Jeff and I could hash out those feelings of betrayal, hurt, anger and sadness. At this point I am just numb to Jeff's mother's passing. It is what it, whereas Bob's passing is raw, and comes with a deep sense of loss of someone who was so very special to us and whom we loved with every fiber of our being.
So today, as I am still feeling the aftermath of the flu and of all those emotions of losing Uncle Bob, I am trying to return to some sense of normalcy. I baked 2 loaves of bread and cooked up half a package of maple flavored thick cut bacon. I saved the grease from the bacon, just like my mother always did and still does to this day. I can hear her in my ear saying there is so much flavor in there and not to waste a bit of it. ~Smile~ Life goes on and we take lessons learned with us. Some were devastating, but others were amazing! Family is not always about blood, but is formed by those amazing bonds, shared memories and love. How blessed were we that we got to have 30 years of love and friendship with Uncle Bob and 28 with Aunt Norma. I choose to focus on that thought and rejoice that Uncle Bob and Aunt Norma are together once more, right where they both wanted to be. And yes, at some point our family will gather together for a late Christmas celebration once everyone is feeling better. After all, the greatest gifts are the love and being together with family for both Jeff and I.