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The First Christmas Eve Without You

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On Christmas Eve, we’re all going to get together like we had every year before last year. We’re all going to hug, smile, laugh, and drink. We’re all going to share stories about what we’ve been up to since we last saw each other. My sister and her husband will talk about their new married life. My mom and dad will talk about how hectic it was figuring out the holidays. My cousins will talk about their kids and what they’ve been doing while they all play together in a different room. My fiancée and I will talk about the wedding planning, how stressed out we are, and how much work it is.

We’ll all sit around the table, sharing stories about everything that’s happened since June 1, 2021. We’ll all share stories about the things we’ve done in those months; and the things we hope to do for the coming year.

We’ll all help get the table ready; we’ll all help each other pass plates around the table. We’ll all sit down, just like we had for so many Christmas Eve’s before this one…

We won’t walk through your garage to get into the house. We won’t go to greet you with a hug and a kiss while you finish off your first glass of wine. We won’t talk about your long driveway being icy or how cold it is outside. We won’t talk about how great your kitchen smells or all the beautiful cards you got from family in Switzerland.

We won’t do those things because the head of your table is empty this year. We won’t do those things because your fireplace won’t be lit. We won’t do those things because this is the first year without you.

This is the first year we won’t hear your voice across the kitchen. This is the first year we won’t hear your laugh fill your house. This is the first year we won’t show you all the stuff the kids get or all the things you got for us. This year is the first without you… and I’m not ready for that.

I never really did care for Christmas or the Christmas season; but Christmas Eve was always my favorite day of the year. Last year we had to make the hardest choice to make sure mom didn’t get sick again… and I wish we could’ve known. I wish we could’ve known that last year was going to be the last you’d be here.

I wish we could’ve known that this year wouldn’t be at Grandpa’s house.

On Christmas Eve, while my fiancée and I drive to mom and dad’s to help them get ready, we’ll pass by your house. We’ll look up at the brown house on the hill, overlooking so much under it. We’ll drive slow and think about all the memories, all the Christmas Eves, all the birthdays. We’ll think about all the love and warmth that house held.

When the day comes, and our kids come with us in the future to help get ready for Christmas Eve, we’ll still drive by your house. And when they ask whose house that is, I’ll tell them…

“That was my Grandpa’s house… and it was the best house in the world.”

Photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash

Originally published: November 23, 2021
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