Grief · Holidays · Tiny Living · Travel

Joy and Sadness of Christmas Day

33597.jpegThis Christmas has been absolutely wonderful, and absolutely heart-wrenching. The holidays are often a time where, as no surprise, many have difficulty with depression and sadness in their lives. We had many mixed emotions as the arrival of Christmas came upon us this year.

First, we have been ecstatic to not be working on the actual holidays. Similar to  Thanksgiving, we were able to plan a meal to cook and enjoy in our tiny abode. Both of our families had traditions that we would often pop-in on since we had our own businesses, but having moved to the coast, we are about 3 hours away from any family, so it didn’t make sense to do any of that this year. Plus, this year, my Papa passed away. My family always went Christmas Eve to his house for dinner and gift-swapping. Last year, we got a text from my aunt that we would not be gift swapping (which we loved since we don’t want to accumulate more stuff, and a bonus to save money) but I had a feeling that my Papa letting this tradition slip away meant that something was going on. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer shortly after. A few weeks after my Pharrell passed away, so did my Papa. Part of my family that got together on Christmas Eve each year has sort of just fallen apart after…sad, but it happens I guess.

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We make new traditions for Christmas!

Gerry’s mom passed away in 2012, so the holidays are also difficult for him as he reflects on traditions spent with her. Before she passed away, there was also the tradition of getting together Christmas Day. As time goes by, and family passes, it seems that family often become ships passing in the night, moving in different directions, not getting together as often as they can/should.

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Betty White loves her Christmas jammies- clearly, as she is rolling around trying to take them off. 😉

Then there are our losses of our furbabies: Kiko, Wilson, and Pharrell. We found ourselves talking a lot today about Christmases in the past with them, and funny things they would do. We decided to make today all about our girl, Betty White. We woke and had our coffee, watched a cheesy Christmas movie, called our nieces to see what Santa brought them, then made a day at the beach for Miss Betty- her idea of heaven!

Our fave beach spot for Betty White is Fort Macon- a very dog-friendly locale here on the Crystal Coast. We are fortunate to have beach accesses that allow dogs year round, but this spot has a huge beach with lots of space to walk and run with pups. The beaches are uneven with high spots where we can hike, and Betty loves overlooking spots of the waves breaking, but then we can also walk along the beach and often spot dolphins. This area serves as a jetty, and area where two bodies of the ocean meet so the waves are usually pretty intense, but Betty loves the sound of the crashing waves, so it makes for a pretty great spot.

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Keeping Betty’s attention while other little dogs walk by her

We walked and played on the beach for about 3 hours until Betty could hardly play anymore. Once she slows down, we know she is really pooped! Since this was her day, she took advantage of every second! Despite the temps being in the 40’s, and all of us being bundled up, we had a blast!

Once we got back home, we cleaned Betty up and she napped the rest of the afternoon. Gerry and I watching more cheesy Christmas movies, ate leftovers and baked goods from Christmas Eve, and topped the night off watching the Philadelphia Eagles (Ger’s fave)!

We are able to accept that Christmases are going to be different now. While they may be sad as we reflect on what used to be, we are able to make a special effort to make new traditions in our new lifestyle- one where we have time to appreciate what we have now, and of course, to give Betty White a Christmas to remember.

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Our 2017 Family Christmas Photo 🙂

 

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