Well Evelyn’s first Christmas didn’t go as planned. I was looking forward to my parents visiting, getting the last few days of being able to sneak in some naps and extra sleep before I headed back to work full time. We had plans for a few overnights in Santa Ynez for wine tasting and visiting my aunt & uncle in Santa Barbara. We had day trips planned, outfits picked out and I had dreams of creative photos to get of Evelyn in front of the tree surrounded in Christmas lights.
Instead, we woke up Christmas Eve to missed calls and texts from Tim’s family. We were shocked to find out that Tim’s mother had passed away unexpectedly in her home the night before/ early morning of Christmas Eve. She had been battling health issues for years, but always seemed to soldier on so none of us were expecting this sudden news.
We spent Christmas packing, booking a flight and helping plan the wake & funeral arrangements. The Christmas holiday felt like a daze. We finally opened presents at 4pm Christmas Day but it didn’t feel the same. I don’t have a picture of the 3 of us on Christmas.
At 3am Wednesday morning we got up and got ready to head to the airport. We were headed for the coldest week Massachusetts had so far. Many places in New England were below freezing, on the day of the funeral it was 7 degrees.
The wake was packed with friends and love ones coming to pay their condolences with a line out the door in the freezing cold. I know it meant a lot to the family to see how many lives she touched and how many people cared. And of course there were the employees from Stop & Shop and CVS who knew my Mother-in-Law well and had seen several photos of Evelyn as well as her baby photobook we had made her (and thank God sent early) for Christmas.
I’m thankful we had just been back for Evelyn’s baptism in October and we’d spent so much time with Tim’s mother. We also have family photos from the baptism that we will now treasure even more.
On the night/morning she passed, Tim and I had woken up around 3am. Evelyn needed to nurse. Usually Tim sleeps through these but that night he woke up. Both of us were wide awake after she went back down and didn’t fall asleep until after 5am. We spent the time talking and laughing and cuddled up. That’s never happened before where we both weren’t able to fall back asleep and it was such a nice time together. I really feel like his mother was with us, that she’d come to visit and say goodbye before heading on.
I’m sad Evelyn will only know of her grandmother through stories. But I’m thankful she left behind a large and growing family. I look forward to holidays spent reminiscing while also making new memories.
Hold your loved ones a little closer, call your parents/siblings/cousins who you haven’t connected with in a while. Bury old hatchets. Don’t have regrets.