There are so many mixed feelings surrounding this year's Christmas celebrations, and while I want to make the holiday something that Joe will remember with happiness, I still can't deny the sadness that is here as well. It's not just the reminders of those long gone, the sense of emptiness the day brings when I think of Danijela and our children and all the Christmases they never saw. To those losses this year we'll add the more recent loss of Tata, the only comfort coming in knowing that he and Mama can at long last be re-united. Watching Joe's joy as he helps Niko and I decorate the tree, I can't help too but feel Abby's absence, and I can only imagine the pain she must be feeling at not sharing in all this. I know that she needs this time to discover what it is in her that allowed her to undo all the gains she had made in controlling her addiction, but, it doesn't make her not being here any less difficult. It doesn't make her any less missed.
I think of what is still to come for this evening, from the traditional fish dinner which we'll share with friends of Tata before returning home to open presents with Joe. The last will be the hardest I think, if only because it will bring me closer to Danijela and our children then I have been since I laid them to rest. I can't say when I last attended a Midnight Mass, for too many years I let my anger at God eat away at my faith, going so far as to deny that it even remained. I can't do that anymore, and in the time since I'd found out my father was ill and even more since his death, I have found a strength in it that has allowed me to go on when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and grieve for the loss of him.
The Mass tonight will be a first for Joe, but, hopefully not his last. I know now that I want Joe to feel the comfort of the Church that I knew as a child, and to know that God will be there for him should he need him to confide in. As I light candles for those no longer with us, for the first time in too long I will call up their memories with joy, sharing them with him, so he will know those that he carries with him even if they will never meet. I want the holiday to be about more then just the giving of gifts, I want this to become a time of remembrance, and of love. Something that Joe will look forward to year after year, and in time, a tradition that he will share with his own children. When the last hymn has been sung, and the last of the candles is extinguished, I can't think of a better gift I could bestow on him that.