My Christmas Miracle…and Michael Jackson!

I expected this Christmas would be hard. Almost unbearable, even. But it’s just one day. I can make it through one more day, that’s what I told myself.

For some reason, I’d compartmentalized my grief to just Christmas day. I don’t know why I thought I’d be “fine” until Christmas day but it doesn’t really matter.

It started on the 19th. Monday. The seven month mark since Natalie’s passing. I went to sleep with a sense of dread that Sunday night and when I got up Monday morning… I felt broken.

I’m pretty sure I was late to work, it’s hard to drive while crying. I probably should have pulled over but I kept trying to talk myself into being okay. “It’s just another day” I told myself. I have work to do, I have things that need my attention and while I do honor my grief, now is not the time. I thought it was a fairly decent pep talk…

Pulled into the parking lot, tried to swallow past the lump in my throat and went inside.

I walked around back and saw dad standing there. I quickly fell apart. “Just breathe” he said as I buried my face in his sleeve and tried to stuff what emotion was overflowing back into this cracked chalice.

Later that night I called my mom. Everyone was having a horrible day. It’s because it’s the 19, I decided. Tomorrow would be better.

Ha! Nope. Tuesday was worse and Wednesday worse than that. The Christmas music, the decorations, the light displays, the gifts… she loved it all and I felt like I was dying.

Yep, holidays are hard but THIS? WTF was this? I had this image in my head of a cartoon Goofy. He was at the top of a mountain, skiing. He went downhill so fast… off a cliff, I think.

“EEEEEHHHHHOOOOOOOOWWWWWW”

Natalie and I loved that part! It was a cartoon. Goofy was, goofy and we didn’t have to see him lying lifeless in the snow after that surely fatal jump.

Monday was the top of the mountain and December 24th was the drop off. It just sped towards disaster.

I expected Christmas eve would be hard. I couldn’t really fathom the kind of hell that this has been. Each day took another hit, punch, kick, scratch, chunk out of me…

I slept most of Saturday day.

Saturday night, as we halfheartedly opened gifts with forced smiles, we all expected Nat to come barging in, as she did, arms full of gifts and eyes full of life.

I can see her as I write this. Arms outstretched, ready for embrace. An unconquerable spirit… Voice just as powerful as the day she was born…

Anyway.

Christmas day I felt like I’d been in a boxing match. And lost, badly. I didn’t want to do gifts again. I didn’t want to get out of bed again. I wanted to be Grinchy and left alone. My tooth hurt, my body ached, my spirit was fractured.

And I have a daughter. A daughter that was in part, named after Natalie.

So I dragged myself out of bed. Popped more Tylenol and cracked my last Mt. Dew.

“How about some music” Tayla asked.

“Sure”

I don’t know what station she had it on but it was music from the 1920’s. I gave her a thumbs up and she passed out the gifts.

After everything had been unwrapped and “ooohhhed” and “ahhhed” over… Tayla went to her room and immersed herself in her drawing.

She left her phone though. Her phone playing the 20’s music. I didn’t mind, I liked it but it quickly faded to the background of my consciousness as I turned my attention to other things.

I don’t remember my exact thoughts, only that they were about Natalie. WHERE was she? I still haven’t fully grasped the fact that she’s gone…

And that’s when it happened.

This station we’d been listening to, this old time-y radio station started playing The Jackson 5. Michael Jackson. Oh how she loved Michael! She even had a MJ DOLL. And what song was playing?

I’ll Be There

You and I must make a pact
We must bring salvation back
Where there is love, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll reach out my hand to you
I’ll have faith in all you do
Just call my name and I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I’m so glad that I found you
I’ll be there with a love that’s strong
I’ll be your strength
I’ll keep holdin’ on (holdin’ on)
Yes I will, yes I will
Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, girl, is all I’m after
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to protect you (yeah baby)
With unselfish love that respects you
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I’m so glad that I found you
I’ll be there with a love that’s strong
I’ll be your strength
I’ll keep holdin’ on
Ooh ooh ooh
Yes I will (holdin’ on, holdin’ on)
Yes I will
Don’t you know baby I’ll be there
I’ll be there I’ll be there
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Just look over your shoulders honey, ooh!
I’ll be there, I’ll be there,
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Don’t you know baby
I’ll be there, I’ll be there
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Oh oh oh oh I’ll be there, I’ll be there

“Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter”. That’s the message I keep getting. That’s the part of the song that caught my attention.

I started to cry out of happiness and sadness.

I’ve been thinking all along that I wasn’t going to make New Year’s resolutions but I’m starting to rethink that. Nothing major but maybe keeping a “joy journal” or a gratitude list… something to remind me that she wants me to be happy. She’s here and wants to help.

It feels like an insurmountable task but one that I must at least try.

Merry Christmas

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2 thoughts on “My Christmas Miracle…and Michael Jackson!

  1. Thinking of you Cuz……I can’t possibly understand what you’re going through, and with that being said, I’m pretty sure that Natalie would want you to find a way to keep going and be happy as well. I think a “joy journal” sounds like a great place to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Renee. I’m sure you’re right and I hope she understands it may take awhile to be consistently happy. I am grateful though. Every day I’m appreciate at least one thing, even if it’s just bedtime!

      Like

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