Where Are You Christmas
I'm Still Here
Here I am, up and wide awake at 5:30 AM in the morning. What to do when the thoughts in my mind are going round and round with Christmas just days away. I am left wondering, once again, what is Christmas all about? Of course I know it is all about the birth of the baby boy, Jesus. That is first and foremost what many of us strive to remember and celebrate.
But what about family? Christmas has always been a time of celebration, family get togethers, gift giving and gastronomic feasts. So, I find myself contemplating on this fifth upcoming Christmas without the love of my life, my husband, Craig. And, it is the second Christmas, for my sister and I, without our mom, for whom Christmas was a joy beyond compare. Of course there are other people in our family, who have passed through the years, and whom we miss. But for me these are the most recent wounds, and the hardest to bear. Let me say, without any insult to my mother at all, that losing my husband has been the worst thing for me. After all, that would not be too surprising. There is, if you agree, a pecking order in all of this. It is natural to lose your parents first and then your spouse. For me, it happened the other way around. Each holds a different place in my Christmas heart.
The Little Girl in Me
Even though it is not the order of my loss, it is the right order of my life. Christmas with mom, as I mentioned already, was always a major celebration. When I was very young, Christmas celebrations extended to the larger family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Of course, as we all got older everyone was more involved with their own individual families. But the memories are still there. And along with those memories come a whole barrage of circumstances that are in my head's memory box. Beautiful dolls are just one of those memories - all of them with handmade clothes by my mom. Not to mention the clothing she made for me, and my sister. Santa has a bundle of little girl and homemade dress, sitting right on his knee. How can I forget? Beautiful trees in later years, pretty funny looking ones in earlier years, but always tons of baking and decorating all around. These are the hallmarks of my memories of my mother, who was like a child herself at Christmas.
The Woman in Me
But Christmas began for me in a very different way back in 1984. This was the year I finally made it to a place in married life with a beautiful man, my husband Craig. We met at a time when we thought love had passed us by, both of us having been in very unsuccessful marriages before.
For twenty six years, Christmas seemed like every day! I was alive for the first time in so many years. We explored, we worked, we travelled, and we loved - oh did we love!! For this, I am eternally grateful. But when he passed away in September of 2010, I thought Christmas would never be the same again.
Craig's and my story!
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What I Have Learned
My loved ones are not lost. They are right here beside me. I believe this with all my heart. I have come to realize that God, in his wisdom, has granted each and every one of us the right to still connect with those who have gone before us. It is simple - remain open to the possibilities, and they will come. I see it every day in the beautiful signs that I began receiving from my husband, almost immediately after he passed. And I see it also in the signs I receive from my mother that she is not far away. Granted, I feel the signs more from my husband, but I believe that is what I call the "pecking order."
But even without this recognition, I see it every day in the memories of Christmases past with both of these important people. Decorating the tree, brings out keepsakes from my mother's trees over the years, and treasures from Craig's and my trees, past and present. One of my greatest treasures is a poem that Craig wrote for me those many years ago, when we were first getting together - A Christmas Wish For My First Love
Just this morning, as I lay in bed, trying to get back to sleep, Craig's voice was roaming through my head. "I love you Lynnie. I will always love you, and Christmas is still here."
Christmas is in my Heart with all of the memories of those who I have loved and still love.