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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 133: Our first Christmas


This is our first Christmas without you. We’d been warned by wise people, friends who know, that these kind of events have their place and we need to be strong. So, we’re huddled together on the coast trying to remember and to forget, both at the same time. Remembering your huge presence, holidays or not, and forgetting that life is moving on with you in our memories but not in our day. All so real, yet Day 133 is yesterday. You were the main man during holidays so the bittersweet is present. We know you would put on the best face possible and be present. So that’s what we’re doing. Spending the day being busy. Being with each other. And thinking of you. Centering on food, which was all you.

It’s been 33 days since I last wrote to you and so much has happened and nothing is different. The days come and go with functions present and purpose illusive. The community of people surrounding us have been our life line and the only way we know for moving forward. Work appears, well, like work so is placed in its proper place: Second in purpose to understanding life and important only because it’s needed. No free rides. The Midwest is hard to lose.

As you appear to ensure all the time, sunshine is forecast. The Oregon coast in December usually calls for gray, wind, and rain. Instead, it’s expected to break in sun with thundering surf compelling the water ashore and gulls mocking everyone in contrast. We would likely be running a photo shoot, finding the sweet spot of light and composition. The Coquille River Boat Basin. Face Rock. China Creek. Sand dissolving to water. Endless monoliths of rocks off shore. At day’s end, the pictures would be culled into a few worth framing. Placed on the wall and remembered with a time stamp: Christmas 2018. Well done KT. Another year with you.

Christmas still includes the gift exchange as always, but not the kind wrapped and taped: a silly tradition at best meant for the surprise afforded to warrant the personal value imbued. The real gift exchanged is our deep learning of how precious our life was with you. How you were when you were here. How accepting you were with us and others. How we need to roll like you. Reflect all the good in others and make you present in us. To be sure we view your image in photos of life, not just to remember you, but live with you. It’s all we have buddy.

One day the pain and endless, deep grief will abate. And perhaps then, we can shift how we stand. Lean forward with welcome anticipation not hesitant avoidance. Wake up to the sun, smell the weather, and walk tall again. Look at this brief life with perspective. Appreciate and give thanks. It’ll be the people in our life that will spell this difference and help move time from the press of the moment to an appreciation of its enormity. Endless.

So there you have it Karsten. A sorrowful, first Christmas without you. We knew it would be and it was. We know it will change as it must. You will continue to guide us through this.


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