There are times during the year we remember our loved ones more often than other times. For me, it’s Christmas.
I remember the family coming over for dinner, and baked goods my Mom, Grandmother and Aunt had baked. Sitting on the floor by the Christmas tree waiting anxiously for a present to be given to me. My face all lite up, smiling like crazy and still so tired. Christmas decorations all over the house, and Christmas music playing in the background. Family members in pajamas. Presents under the tree. Stockings stuffed. Coffee and tea being served to the adults, while the kids got milk, juice or hot chocolate. The cold air blowing around outside, snow everywhere. The sun shining most years. All the while, as I sat there anxiously. No one really knowing what I am actually doing….
I sat there. Looking at my Mother. Sitting on the couch, with her housecoat on, her curly hair all messy, a coffee in one hand, and her other grabbing her feet. Curling them up close to her to keep her warm. And the look on her face. Smiling. Looking back at me, seeing my happy face, as she sipped her coffee. Maybe she knew I was looking at her, just because I wanted to remember that moment.
I have a picture I have hanging in my living room, of a moment I captured. This same memory…..messy hair, housecoat and all. And her….looking at the camera. With such love. My family and I took a lot of pictures over the years. But this picture is one of my favorite. Because it captured my Mom just how she was. No makeup. Comfy clothes. And loving the day we spent all together.
My Mom and I did a lot of skiing, skating and tobogganing when I was a child. Taking a picture at any given moment. Laughing, giggling and enjoying each others company.
I sat there looking at my Mother every Christmas morning. I didn’t want to ever forget how I felt, how she looked, her voice, her smile, her laughter, her love.
My last Christmas with her was in 1996.
I was very close to my Mother. She was my best friend. And although I did not get much time with her. I am eternally grateful for those years nevertheless. She taught me so much in so little time we had together. It is those Christmases with her that hold a special place in my heart.
I know it may be hard for some of you to celebrate a holiday without your loved ones there. But take it from someone who has done this for twenty one years now. Remember those moments, smile if you can. Feel the love you still have inside for them. Take that moment to remember everything. And then go spend your holiday- like you did in the past. Their spirit will be with you. Happy to see you still carrying on the traditions. Seeing the happiness, the laughter, the smiles. And the love that you all still have. We are not forgetting them. We are taking them everywhere we go. And still living our life. I know it hurts. I feel your pain, your heart aching, and wishing they were here. That you had more time with them. Maybe to correct wrong doings. Maybe to say your sorry for things you said or did. But what you may not know is, the already forgave you.
Every Christmas that has passed, I still sit there. Thinking of my Mom. Remembering those Christmases. And often I feel her presence and then see her sitting on the couch, messy hair, housecoat on and feet curled up. Smiling back at me. The pain might always be there, it might eventually go away. We might think of them privately, not showing how much we miss them. We all grieve in different ways, for however long or short.
This Christmas, do something that you once did together. Weather it be skating or sledding. Or singing a favorite Christmas carol. Or carrying on a tradition….
Be with the ones you love. And do not let go or not see someone that holds that special place in your heart, weather they know it or not. Our time on Earth is limited. We do not know how much time we have. Hug your loved ones. Squeeze them tight. Tell them how much they mean to you. And for the ones that no longer are with us….
Know every time you think of them. Or have a major life event. Or remember a memory with them in it. Know they are there with you in spirit. And they still love you.
Remembering my Mom, Valerie (1942-1997)
In love and light always,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.