THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DIFFERENT…

Over the last few weeks, grief and emptiness has hit me hard: and through this, I have found writing to become my form of meditation. 

Processing feelings into words has slowed my thoughts, quieted my mind, and allowed me to unpack the hurt I am feeling into bite size alphabetical pieces. Writing my feelings allows me to exploit them, and reading my feelings back to myself allows me to view them subjectively. 

I love to share my writing with those willing to read it. I love to connect and resonate with my audience. But, please know, the last couple of blogs, this one included, I’ve written for ME. For MY mental health, for MY healing. These blogs are not written to create connection, funnel potential clients or gain social media following: this is my online journal, vulnerably at your disposal if you choose. That’s it. My unedited realism in words. My cheap therapy. 

And although my “Authentically Ashlyn” blog will remain full of positivity, fitness-inspired suggestions and life coaching philosophies: this one is being sent out to the world for other reasons. 

I am currently shifting through memories, straining through 28 years of Christmas traditions embedded in my mind, and I am attempting to encapsulate it all into thousands of words that are now at the ownership of cyberspace. 

As I choose to release these thoughts to the World Wide Web, I believe that they are now at the disposal of the Universe. I imagine that these thoughts are no long lingering in my tear ducts, in the heaviness of my heart and in the lump in my throat. Instead, they are here. On this page, ready to be released and read by whomever needs them. *Big breath*

So, if you’re reading this: thanks already. 

If you would have asked me my plans for December mid 2019, well, I would have excitedly portrayed to you my 21-day agenda outlining my perfectly pre-planned and pre-paid Vietnam and Philippines vacation. I was to spend December in an overwater bungalow on the ocean: a bucket list item of mine since I was a teen. I was to spend nearly a month in great shape, in excruciating heat, exploring islands, travelling the globe, snapping pictures and daydreaming of what 2020 will bring. Finally, my biweekly savings after 10 months would be put to use. 

THIS was supposed to be December. 

If you would have asked me months ago what the holiday season 2019 would look like, well, I would have secretly told you with excitement that my husband and I were finally expecting our first child. It would be at Christmas this year that we would tell the world our news. I had the perfect announcement planned. I would be nearly halfway there, a big belly of pride and a lifetime of new challenges in 2020 would be waiting for us. Maternity clothing, baby sleepers and an over-the-top gender reveal party would be taking place. Who would need presents when the greatest gift in the world was on its way. 

THIS was supposed to be my 2019 Holidays. 

If you would have asked me a year ago what I would be doing for Christmas Eve, I would have explained to you, in detail, the Hungarian inspired feast my Papa Joe cooks every year on Christmas for our family. Traditional foods, yummy deserts, bottomless beverages, and no hesitation to put me in my place if I denied another serving. 

I would spend the 24th of December in a nice dress, with all of my extended family, including the oldest and wisest of the bunch: my Nagymama: dressed beautifully and always smiling humbly as she watched the room from the sidelines. Everyone would be circulating around Grandma Helen and Papa Joes house: their cooking, their generous gifts, their Hungarian martinis and their undeniable love for all of us, always brought everyone together, for all big occasions. 

THIS was supposed to be Christmas Eve. 

If you would have asked me a year ago what I would be doing for Christmas Day: well, I’d already know of course. My husband and I would put on our Christmas Inspired PJs and head to moms house bright n’ early. We’d walk in the front door with large laundry hampers filled with gifts. Huge smiles and bed head  from the kids would be starring back at us. 

Stu would be yelling from the kitchen- “who wants a coffee?”- as he already brought the coffee pot out knowing we wouldn’t want moms instant crap: he only made that special for her. Everyone would explain they’ve been patiently waiting on Rob and I and that it’s time we start opening stockings. 

Mom and Stu would sit back as us kids went rampage on opening every individually wrapped item shoved into our tiny socks, sometimes receiving 2 of the same gift. Mom explaining “oh I forgot I bought that”, “Ash, just give that extra one to your sister” as Stu rolled up the wrapping paper shambles into baseball sized balls he would rip across the room, landing them perfectly into the garbage-bag mania he set up in the middle of the floor. I swear he never missed. 

Mom would unwrap the same perfume Stu bought her every year, Kristen would put on the sweater she picked out and wrapped herself and another camo-inspired outfit for Jack would emerge, and Stu would sit and giggle as he received yet another pack of socks mom had forgotten she bought for him. 

Stu would then fire up the oven and broken skillet he’s had for a decade, and he would create for us, his most perfect Christmas-Day breakfast feast: French toast, bacon, scrambled eggs, the works. 

THIS was supposed to be Christmas Morning. 

BUT, life isn’t always how it’s supposed to be and I am learning: LIFE CHANGES FAST. Too fast. This holiday season is a painful reminder of the horrible changes the Universe brought me in 2019. 

I will be spending the entirety of my December in Canada, no ocean bungalow, no Asian vacation. 

I will be grieving a miscarriage whilst surrounded by babies, pregnant bellies and futuristic thoughts of when it will finally be my turn. 

I won’t receive the same Hungarian Feast on Christmas Eve now that Papa Joe is gone, and the drinks might not be as stiff. 

The house will feel a little more empty without  Nagymama: as even her presence in the room brought so much comfort and smiles to us all. 

The coffee and French toast won’t taste the same on Christmas morning without Stu, the laughter will be lessened, and the living room is bound to be a disaster of wrapping paper. 

So, when you ask me what MY plans are for the holidays: I truly do not know. Never again can I assume that I know what next year, next month, or even tomorrow will bring: 

Perhaps I’ll be holding together the fragments of all I’ve known as a kid. Everything will be different, yet we will continue on with large holes in the road of familiarity, filling and dodging the potholes of sadness. 

Perhaps I’ll have to make new traditions, create a new game, host Christmas at another place, fill the void of 2019 grief with the laughter and smiles from today as we attempt to move forward through this darkness. 

Perhaps I’ll have to grieve next to my loved ones who “get it”. We can cry, remember good times and sit-in the sorrow when it’s necessary to do so. 

And although I am still unsure what Christmas or ANY holiday from now on will look like: one thing I DO know for certain: I will take endless photos with my siblings, I will say “I LOVE YOU” and mean it, I will spend the extra $10 on the gift that brings sentimental value, I will walk across the room to give hugs and kisses, I will invest in my PRESENCE more than my PRESENTS and I will NEVER again take for granted the time I have with those I love dearly. 

So, if you’re waiting to see if the comeback IS greater than the setback, drop me your email and I’ll continue to push content from my head and heart onto this page: and although I write for ME: I still want to hear from YOU: 

Throw me a follow on social media and let’s be friends. 

@ashlyn_gunderson

10 thoughts on “THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DIFFERENT…

  1. OMG 😭😭 Just finished reading your post and am writing this reply w/tears streaming down my face, a lump in my throat and a heavy ❤️. I LOVE that you shared this so that it may in turn help you
    slowly find your way back. Such a powerful post about love, loss, family, the unknown and moving through it all. So many aspects of what you wrote I can relate to in some way. I hear you and feel for you ❤️ Take Care!

    Like

  2. I had to wait a few days to read this one, knowing it was going to be a tear jerker. Love you to bits.

    Your comeback is going to be so strong, when your ready.

    Love you to pieces!

    Like

  3. I’ve actually read this blog twice. My heart truly aches for you ❤️ But the comeback will bring you true joy when the time is right. Even in this tough time in your life your still so incredibly strong

    Like

  4. 😭😭 Thanks for sharing, so sorry for your losses, you are truly amazing how you’re trying to stay so strong through all this heartbreak.
    You’re totally an author in the making and you have so much to offer this world. Your people are lucky to have you. Godspeed young lady, stay blessed!

    Like

  5. I’m finally getting some quiet time to catch up on some reading. My heart breaks for you. I wish I had read this sooner.
    I still look at the stars on Christmas Eve knowing my grandparents are looking down on me. All the beautiful memories so very vibrant in my minds eye.
    I wish you all the health and happiness in 2020. Let this be a fabulous year for you. God bless. 💖

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s