This isn't the Christmas I had ever planned. I woke up this morning without my family.
The year 2020 ravaged everyone's lives and I've been no exception. February saw the finalization of my divorce, during which I lost half my assets after my husband of 20 years cheated on me. Yeah, I got totally and completely screwed, but it's done and I'm moving on. That's a rant for another day. More important than the money was the divorce resulted in a 50/50 custody agreement and this is the year my ex-husband got my teenaged son on Christmas.
Of course, there's always the ache in my heart from losing my younger son. That will be ever-present now in my new life. But that's become a dull ache these days. The custody agreement, which takes away my surviving son for half the time, is a fresh, raw pain that now accompanies the deep scar of losing a child.
Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas. It's been a very special time of year for me since I was a child. So it hurt my heart to wake up without my son in the house -- without someone with whom to celebrate a decadent breakfast, a fire in the fireplace, opening presents. I take some solace in knowing my son will be 18 next year, able to make his own decisions on what he wishes to do with his time.
My extraordinary friends have helped ease my pain by inviting me to spend time with them on this gloriously sunny Houston day. I cannot thank them enough, for they fill a gap in my life with love and understanding.
So even though this was not a Christmas I had ever envisioned, I was able to enjoy the company of people who love me, and celebrate Christ's birth despite all the negative life traumas I've endured. This Christmas brought me the gifts of fortitude, strength and resilience. And for that, I'm grateful.