Christmas eve

In spite of the madness and sadness of this year, this Christmas eve was really wonderful. Lonia (Mike's mom) is here in NH with us, and it's so nice. She and my mom and dad get along fabulously. Baxter loves having all his mimi, poppi, and grandma here. Jae, Stephen and Kylee came this afternoon and we spent hours opening up insane amounts of gifts. Lonia and I just had a sweet conversation with Mike's sister, Dr. Diana.

When my family said grace at the table before our afternoon meal, my mom insisted that we all hold hands. I usually have to stifle some irreverent comment about the whole thing, but this year I didn't feel the urge. In fact, after grace, I was overcome with emotion - with a little sadness, but also with the warmth of what Mike has given to us all. He's given me such a feeling of strength. He's given us all this amazing new big family. He's given us the gift of his spirit - which prevents us all from getting mired down in the muck of it all. And, even in his absence, he continues to empower me. I used to get all whacky when I was with my family - like I was 12 all over again. Not anymore. I was a loving wife and I continue to be a mother, a scholar, and ... a grown up. It all feels somewhat unshakeable.

I've also spent the last week developing a great connection with the charming guy I went out to dinner with last Wednesday. But, I'm not going to write any details about that here. This blog is the forum where I share things about Michael, our journey, my grief, and my subsequent journey forward. It wouldn't be respectful if I were to detail everything about this growing connection here. It would also place my interactions with him in the context of my relationship with Mike - which wouldn't be fair. And - quite frankly, it just wouldn't feel right. But know that it's bringing me joy.

Merry Christmas and love to you all.