Thursday, December 2, 2010
I apologize for not writing to you for a few days. Have you lost someone you loved since last Christmas? I have. And for a bit, it's been really difficult to get myself around Christmas this year. Daddy lived with me the last five years of his life, and he died February 9, at the age of 93. He lived a full life, was full of wonderful stories to tell, wisdom, and wit ... and despite the normal amount of "parent-child" angst, was my hero. He was one of those people in my life, who loved me unconditionally, no matter what dumb thing I might have just done. For months, I wondered how I was going to cope without him, and then I realized I was doing it ... and that I was okay. Oh don't get me wrong, the hole is still big, and the empty place still hurts. But as all the Hallmark and American Greetings cards say, he really isn't GONE, he's just out of sight.
But then it was time to dig out the Christmas things, and gear up for the Thanksgiving turkey ... and that crippling feeling came back in spades. Thanksgiving came and went, and since my silly turkey didn't thaw out until Monday of this week, it was a rather "oddball" observance of "Turkey Day". In the middle of all this, there was a medical emergency, so I found myself making a hasty phone call to a man who presides over a homeless shelter here in town, to come get the turkey carcass, legs, thighs, wings, and veggies for soup. I wasn't going to have time to make it. I always made "Thanksgiving Soup" after the big feed, and Daddy was my best customer. I found comfort in making sure SOMEONE would have warm filling soup, even if I wasn't up to making it.
Now that the medical crisis has past, and I'm settled in my big blue chair (which was HIS big blue chair), with the Christmas Tree in the corner in all its splendor, I realize that though I miss him, and decorating the tree without him was indeed a lonesome experience, he IS still here. I can hear what he said about the ornaments as he unwrapped them. He marveled at the choices I've made over the years, in ornaments or other trinkets I collected, and why they were important. I remember his grin when he unwrapped the pipe ... "that's for Bing Crosby, and the White Christmas movie!" ... his questioning eyes when he unwrapped a sheep ... "the Lamb of God" .... birds, fox, fish, a tiny Bible, angels, train cars (his dad worked on the Erie Lackawanna Railroad years ago) ... kitties, photos of kitties now gone from my house but not from my heart. Everything on that tree has some significance to me. One ornament is of a little bird dressed as a letter carrier, sending "air mail". That was when one of my children wasn't with me for Christmas. As I put each ornament on the tree, he was there with me. I realized I was smiling at them as I unwrapped them.
Yes, I miss him. Far far more than I ever thought I would. If there's someone missing from your life this season, take comfort in the reality that as long as you have your memories, that someone is NOT gone ... just "out of sight". Open your heart, do something productive in your loved one's honor. Sign up to ring the Salvation Army Bell for an hour or two. Fix a food basket for someone you know who might not have a full pantry right now. Wrap a gift for the Toys for Tots program the Marines spearhead. Take heart. Have hope. and ... be at Peace.