Tis the season.
What an incredibly joyous season this is, with its festive music, the beautifully decorated houses. Watching the faces of people smiling while shopping that wander and enjoy the sparkling colourful stores and malls. Everyone is loaded down with overstuffed bags full of presents. Presents nicely wrapped, and more than likely only to be ripped open on Christmas morning, tossed aside and moved on quickly to the next present.
Wow, there seems to be a bit of that not being merry and down-right bitterness coming through in that last sentence. I must apologize. That is so unlike me. I love Christmas.
Sadly this year I find myself in a different state, along with many others. A club, I honestly had heard about, and had seen but had never intended to join. Members, consisting of those I know and those who I do not know, each struggling to get through the joyous happy season as quickly as they can. All, hoping to head to a New Year full of hope and possibilities.
That sounds so melodramatic, now that I read it here in black and white. There are those like me who try to smile and laugh, as not to ruin the Christmas season for the other people. People, who rightly so, are so happy to be celebrating a joyous, merry wonderful season that is supposed to be all about love, of family, and full of happiness.
There have been a few special loved ones who left us this year, and my watching some really difficult struggles for those who I love. This seems to have crushed my feelings. To celebrate the season of love, joy and family suddenly seemed like a daunting task and nothing more. The loss of my Mom, the person who loved Christmas and family time more than anyone else that I have ever known, has had a profound effect on my family and me. We are all struggling to make it feel right, but it is like there is an ‘elephant in the room’ creating sadness for all. Mom would not want that.
I had the pleasure of spending a day with a lovely young woman and her Mom where we visited my best friend BA, who I have loved since we were five. On the drive back home the conversation came up about Christmas trees. I informed them I was not putting one up this year. The lovely young woman had only one question “Why”? That was when I went into my spiel. It was too much work, and no one would see it. I went on, about missing my Mom, Dad, brother aunt, my long distance daughters and a new granddaughter. I continued on, as she listened and no doubt wondered when I would stop. I explained that there would be nothing under it anyway. The post office would be the ones to handle Christmas in a box to be sent before the big day. I finished with the line “I honestly just do not have the energy or desire to do it”. Her short reply to all that whining “Doesn’t your Hero deserve a tree?” Wow, she was right. Just because I may not feel the Christmas spirit, I had completely disregarded the feelings of the person who was going through the exact same thing as me, a person who means everything to me.
Excuses were all I had. Sure, all my feelings of loneliness and loss are very real and justified, but how dare I project my feelings on to others. Others, who were handling the same situation but may need a very different way to handle their feelings, this woman was very wise for her years.
When I did get home that evening I asked My Hero. Would you like a Christmas tree? He answered “Only a small one”. I did not go into my whiny spiel. I knew I had to think about this one. Could I do it?
Saturday morning My Hero headed to an auction and I dragged out a little artificial tree. I could not bring myself to do our tree the traditional way. I have to admit, that a funny thing happened, I could not find my box of lights and decorations. I decided I was going to make it a memory tree not only a Christmas tree. A memory tree for all the ones we had lost and were missing and the ones we wished were here but will not be here. I found little things that reminded me of every one of those we love.
Not your traditional tree, but I think this will help both of us this year. Honestly, why would you not want a bowling pin prize for high score of your Mom’s or a whistle to keep you safe in the bush from your Dad hanging on the tree? I did find my carved Santa’s our girls always loved them. Two hawk feathers rounded it out, special found gifts with meaning. I am so glad I did this, it feels right. The tree has brought a change in my attitude, it makes me smile and remember. I feel this need to go bake some cookies right now, and I promised My Hero some Christmas cake, it may be late, but it will get done. Mom would expect no less of her children during her favourite time of year.
I know there are many of you struggling this year. There are also many of you who are going about their normal happy Christmas traditions. My wish for all of us is that we remember others. It is the season of LOVE, joy and family.
Crack a smile at everyone you meet. Pick up the phone. It may very well be just what was needed. Merry Christmas.