Good Family

Blue Christmas

Heather van Mil2 comments2922 views

Christmas in Vancouver is rarely white, but this year it’s feeling particularly blue. This is my first Christmas without my Dad, and this wave of sadness that has engulfed me has completely caught me off guard considering my family lives 3000 kilometres away and we haven’t celebrated Christmas with them in 5 years, preferring to travel over Thanksgiving when the weather is nicer and flights cheaper.

Up until now, I’ve had gentle waves of nostalgia as December 1st came and went without talking to my Dad on the phone and hearing a play by play of the dinner he made and wine he chose for his big “start of Christmas” party. Up until now, I’ve given a small sad smile, and thought of my Dad each time my toddler exclaims “Papa!” pointing to the various bearded Santas she sees in the mall and on TV. Up until now I’ve given my older daughter big warm hugs when she felt a bit sad that our neighbour’s Papa came to visit them but she couldn’t see hers. I figured these little bittersweet moments would be how I remembered and mourned my Dad. Not dramatic, not overwhelming. I figured wrong. Considering how dramatic and overwhelming my Dad could be, I should have known better.

Papa at Christmas

Here it is, Christmas Eve and I just opened a Christmas card in the mail signed only “Love Mom”. I wrapped the presents for my girls and signed the tag “Love Omie”, the absence of Dad of Papa so glaring.

As my hubby and toddler napped, I snuggled up with my 6 year old to watch Home Alone together and bawled all the way through. You know you’re off your game when you can’t make it through Home Alone.

We’ve decided to forgo the big meal this year, not wanting to go through all the trouble for just the 4 of us, especially with a sick little monkey, but also because half of the fun of cooking was swapping ideas and stories with my Dad, a recent avid cuisinier.

It’s sad when you have little kids and you’re not looking forward to Christmas. Thankfully they don’t notice – my youngest doesn’t really even understand the holiday yet and my oldest celebrates her 6th birthday is on Sunday and that’s all she can think about.

Tonight I’ll snuggle everyone close and watch my favourite Chrismas movie of all time – White Christmas. I’ll be thankful for my little family, blessed to have my husband by my side and my kids running around to distract me with their antics, take the edge off the grief and rub a little holiday cheer off on me. I’ll pour a glass of wine or three thinking of those who don’t have hubbies and kids close by to ease the pain, and raise a toast in memory of my Dad.

Merry Christmas Daddy, I love you.


  1. Aw, im so sorry for your loss, my first Christmas with out Dad was hard to , I hope all the good memories will come through and help you smile through it , hugs and best wishes , that was a beautiful tribute to him , I’m sure he’d be proud 🙂

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