Friday, December 28, 2007

Made it through Christmas

This picture was taken on Christmas Eve after we came home from church. As you can see Tyler is now quite the man in his new suit! Looks like a little businessman. Their smiles are a testament to the excitement that they had inside.

The last few days have been pretty tough. We finally got everything done for Christmas and went to church as we always do. It was not the same without Chris with us though. It just seemed as if our family was not complete. We came home and took care of bringing up the presents and hanging the stockings. The kids went to bed a little before midnight and I had a few things to do. After I finished around 12:30 or so I sat down and it finally all hit me. The 23-year routine that Chris and I had done each year had now come to an end. It took me awhile to compose myself and get upstairs to bed. It was the worst that I have felt since she passed away.

The next morning I had to wake the kids up around 8 AM. We opened presents and I started baking the 23 pound turkey! Alex got a special surprise in the driveway as you can see.

The whole family came and we had a very full house. About 30 people. We ate and exchanged gifts and played a gift exchange game. All day long all I could think of was how much Chris enjoyed doing all of these things and how hard it was to enjoy without her. We all had a good time and everyone left around 10pm.

This week Alex worked for a couple of days and will be leaving on Saturday to go visit her boyfriend in NJ. She actually has to leave to return to college on Sunday the 6'th so she doesn't have a lot of time left at home.

Tonight, Friday, Michael is going to a midnight rock-n-bowl night with the youth group from church. He's looking forward to it. I hope I don't fall asleep and forget to pick him up.

The day after Christmas I received an email from Jeannette Vagnozzi. I had posted a comment on her blog about 4 months back and she had just gotten around to responding. I really do not remember how I came across her blog but I do remember reading through it. She sent me a very, very nice email and I will share a small part of it with you:

...Please let me first tell you how devastated I was to read of your loss. You have done a good job of letting strangers understand what an amazing woman your wife was. I have to say, Charlie, you are everything a woman could hope to have by her side. Your constant care, your ability (even if it doesn’t always feel like it) to carry on and care for your children in a way that Chris would have wanted are a testament to your strength and character. No one ever hopes or wishes to discover their inner strength by having it tested to such a degree, but the truth is that this is how we discover or uncover it.

Charlie, by telling your story and Chris’s story, you unknowingly have helped other men get through a similar situation. You have also allowed other women to truly understand how breast cancer impacts the whole family. This is so important. The more we talk about it, the more people understand that breast cancer must be stopped before one more person, one more family goes through this battle.

I now check in often to see how you are doing. Every May since my own diagnosis I participate in a Relay for Life and walk many laps (over the course of 24 hours!) in honor of people who have touched my life and cancer journey. It would be an honor to walk in memory of Chris this year...

It was just what I needed to read the morning after Christmas. It made me feel a whole bunch better. Now, on to New Years. Oh yeah, the following picture was taken by Tyler last Sunday when we were down in DC for the concert.

1 comment:

Jeannette said...

If cancer has taught me anything, it has taught me to never underestimate the kindness of strangers. :)

Happy New Year, Charlie. Wishing you the best.