December 24th…

This mornings plans were…

  • To be up and on the road by 8 am.

Everything had been packed, hooked up, READY to go…last night. Then I remembered Mepkin doesn’t open until 9. So then I stayed awake longer, and therefore slept longer. On the road by 8 turned into on the road at 9:30. I told benton we were going to have to rush at the abbey(which never happens) ‘Rushing’ at the abbey turned into 1 and a half hours. So finally at 11:45 we are on the road. 3 hours 45 minutes late, but moving in the right direction.

The difference from last year to this year is amazingly different. Last year I felt like I had to keep doing it to maintain ‘normalcy’ this year I can’t even think about Christmas without getting upset. The house has not been decorated at all. Christmas music hasn’t been playing…it doesn’t even feel like Christmas.

Everything just feels so surreal, so commercial…that I’m really lost in wonder as I look around and see what the holidays have become.

Just thinking about it all gives me anxiety. The pressure, the expectations, the standards. Generally on Christmas Eve I’d be making chili, and Trey would be finishing up his last minute Christmas shopping. Namely going to Croghans for the last few gifts, and his yearly swing by the apple store to see what’s new and what he needs. Todays the day that I’d meet him for lunch at palmetto cafe. We would get the Caesar Salads, and every year he would say he’s so stuffed he didn’t need dinner , and the next sentence would always be ‘why don’t we throw in some chunks of steak into the chili???’

I made a lot of chili, and would always experiment with it. But, Christmas Eve, you don’t mess with my chili. It’s also the only night I add hotdogs. And every year he would pick at me to change it up. Trey constantly picked at me. CONSTANTLY. He would pick, and pick, and pick…relieving the pressure that always builds up inside of me. He was always picking. Driving me insane, but he knew what he was doing. Now, without the picking my anxiety just bubbles, and bubbles…to the point that I just call benton and tell him to get home. He tells me to take a pill…and very Trey Strock like I reply very nicely ‘I don’t need a $&@)”! Pill’

I miss that picking. Immensely.

So now, on December 24th it feels empty. Everyday feels empty, but the holidays…more so.

Todays quick stop at the abbey turned into an hour and a half, and super hard to leave.

It’s hard to leave every week, and every week I tell Trey it’s time to go, we are headed to see your parents. Which has become exactly what we do. Leave mepkin, head to boca vista. Today is different. Significantly different. It’s Christmas Eve, and we are headed to Atlanta. To have Christmas with Treys family.

It’s not the first time without Trey, but it is the first Christmas with everyone, without him. And that reason alone made it very hard to leave the abbey this morning. Christmas was Treys thing. He loved the holidays. He was the holiday. And without him, they feel empty. Without his excitement, his energy, his love for life, and family it just feel like somethings missing.

After Christmas this year we are doing something Trey would NEVER do. We are going camping with Seth, Missy, and the girls. Reminding Trey that we wouldn’t be at the abbey next week because of that…I could just hear him laugh, guffaw, and say “Noooooo Wayyyy. Y’all have fun, I’ll be at the holiday inn with room service.”

I keep hearing Trey say change is good, and singing his “monorail” song. Change is hard. It’s almost like I don’t want to do anything to corrupt my memories of the past, so it’s almost like I don’t want to do anything that could construe, or conflict with them. I don’t want to give anything the chance to be a good memory, or even come close. I’m paranoid about losing everything. Especially my memories. Knowing how fragile everything is just makes you appreciate it more and more.

With that being said…I’m not going to stress myself out over it anymore. Some of my very best memories are of the holidays. They always will be. I may not celebrate them quite the way we did, but I will always Cherish those memories.

Even while making new ones…