It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Hmm. For the past several years that song definitely didn’t always ring true. Whether it was due to grief or other life stresses, the holiday season certainly didn’t always feel like the most wonderful time of the year. Last year I started to get some of my Christmas Spirit back, and I had a peaceful Christmas. But this year it’s really back, and I think I have more Christmas spirit than I ever have, more joy than I thought possible.
I have been so thankful this year for all the blessings that I have. I still miss Gabe, of course, and decorated his grave as usual. His absence is still loud. But this year things have been different.
I think a big part of the difference is that I’ve been in a process of decluttering my house. I’ve done that in bits and pieces before, but this is a different decluttering. A decluttering that is very linked to grief. You see, I kept so many of Gabe’s things as is. His room was the same until a few months ago when my friend and I transformed Gabe’s room for his little brother. There was a LOT of stuff in that room that needed to be sorted through. I pushed it aside and then went through it. It was hard. It was painful. I needed support and hugs as I went through it. But it needed to be done. And as I sorted a great thing happened- I felt like I had more room in my brain for happiness.
I think hanging on to so many of Gabe’s things took up space in my mind, and that left little room for happiness. Clearing out his room cleared out some of the sadness. I think I was afraid that getting rid of his things would wipe away the memories, but the memories are still all there.
The decluttering didn’t stop in his room. All over the house I’m starting to really analyze what things add to my life- and what things clutter up my brain. I have a LONG way to go, but I’ve made some progress in my living room, dining room, and kitchen. It feels peaceful being in those spaces now, when before it felt stressful- like there was always something that needed to be cleaned up or put away. I’m nowhere near done with decluttering or going through Gabe’s things. But every bit makes a huge difference in my level of peace.
As I type this I sit in my living room, with less clutter and a beautiful Christmas tree. I am reflecting on this year that has been bizarre, difficult, and also amazing all at the same time. And I’m smiling, because right now, life is good and it really is the most wonderful time of the year!