December 23, 2011
This time of year, this now sad time when I find myself lamentingly thinking of you, I am yet again crying because I no longer can pick up the phone to hear you say “Hello?” as if you were asking a question and not answering a phone.
This time of year, Christmastime, when families gather, when friends laugh. Gifts are exchanged. Hearts are warm. The color red is all around and supposes to envelope all that it sees. This a time when many people are kind to those that they would otherwise never think of, say perhaps on July 4th when the weather is balmy and fireworks flare.
You have been gone but days, however, it seems like years. My days are consumed hoping that I might wake up from this dream, this nightmare really, that you somehow got better. That I could wake up from this, though tears would be streaming, I would be thankful that you were still here, and I would immediately pick up the phone to hear that “Hello?” You too would have been sleeping and you answer confused. You ask me what is wrong. I say, holding back the sobs as best I can, that I had a bad dream and I needed to hear your voice. I am not waking though, this dream is now months old, it clings to me, feeding, biting deeper every day. I am living this sad nightmare.
This is our, your family’s, your creation’s first Christmas without you. With you, all those many years ago, the little gifts you gave, simply wrapped with a bow and names written on the wrapping paper, were all appreciated with eyes glowing. With little you gave much.
I will get no more hugs from you. This painful realization denies me much. Hugs, for me, always meant that everything was well in the world. Hugs have been taken, leaving me with but the memory that makes me write these words. I will pause to remember these hugs not just at Christmastime but at every time of year – in the spring when the wind blows across the lake, over the sand of the beach and then over the trees and flowers, I will remember those hugs. Little did I know that every hug gave me comfort that will last for the continuance of my life. It’s a gift that I can open over and over. Thank you – an eternal gift that you gave to all of us.
The magic of Christmas is not so powerful that it can give me the only gift that I want – more time with you. One last Christmas, perhaps, with the family together, cooking and playing games. All laughing with each other, loving each other, all while you rest in your recliner, gently rocking back and forth, with a look on your face that defines happy. Your family, your blood, all near to you with happy smeared across our faces too.
Though, as I think about it, I don’t know that more time would prepare me any better. I would still grieve as I never have. I would still know the reality of your not being here along with my want to not accept that which is my reality.
I think, question, why am I still here if you are gone? This thought, though silly, is that I came from you, should I not go with you as you go? I find myself seeking out ways to push it all away. Strange thoughts, expressed here only that someone may look oddly in my direction if I spoke those words to them.
This year there is no snow. It is fairly warm for this time of year. Cloudless sky – allowing the sun to shine, warming the brick and mortar of all surrounding me. If there were snow, I think it would remind me more that Christmas is here and we don’t have you or more so that Christmas itself, along with us, mourns, weeps that you and your sweet smile are no more.
This year I must start a new journey, one that has you with me – physically no, but with the warmth of your hugs. Keeping me connected to you, still holding onto you with the deepest of love, not just this Christmas but all that shall follow. And not just for me, but for us all.
A tradition starts this year. In honor of you, I will burn a candle – perhaps one in your favorite color – periwinkle. Every year that candle will burn, in a window so that you may angelically fly to see it. It will signify your perfection, your strength, and your love. I will watch the flame burn. I will watch it because in times past I’ve noticed that as a candle burns, at the tip, at the very top of the flame, if you watch closely, it looks as though there is someone reaching out of the flame, toward heaven. I will honor your memory, watching the flame, the spirit therein dancing until it burns out and flies away.
I will think now and forever more that you are an angel now. An angel at Christmas, watching over, whispering love. True the world is a sadder place this year, but even in your absence, you comfort me. At the end of writing this, yet another realization, and epiphany perhaps, we are not without you at Christmas. You are everywhere. You are in the tree ornaments of past. You are in the photographs of us, as a family, standing by the tree. You are in all that you’ve left behind, you are in your legacy. You are here, right now and always – hugging and comforting, listening and loving.
“Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, let your heart be light…”
This is not so much a poem as is it a remembrance -- a tribute to the strongest, most courageous woman I have ever known, my Mother. She valiantly fought breast cancer but lost her battle on Oct. 30th, 2011.