Christmas 2021- remembering again

When you grieve, you hope one day you will overcome that ache of their absence, of wanting to turn back time, so they are still with you.

We assembled the artificial tree in early December.  I lament each year that a real one would satisfy much more.  I appreciate the needles that will fall, scatter and spread, regular watering’s needed to preserve its freshness, or the choice of the right ornament to hang on those fragile branches. But it’s  the scent carried through the house that evokes so many memories of Christmas.

Mom and Dad used very few ornaments on their small tree after they downsized but thankfully stored the rest away. Now, I make use of them.  A white-painted angel made from a walnut shell holds a miniature harp and wears a gold tinsel crown. A “stained-glass” angel made of plastic was probably painstakingly painted by my mother.  We decorated some small grapevine wreaths, adding pine cones and cherry picks and finishing them with ribbons. I can still single out the ones my father strung with a gold cord, each knotted perfectly with just enough length to hang. Those vintage pieces were lightweight, gracing the pine branches without weighing them down.

Large bulbs in an array of brilliant colors were wrapped with precision around the tree by my father. He preferred those classic lights to the small white strings Mom later discovered. After the ornaments were hung, single strands of tinsel were arranged on the branches with extreme care.

I thought of my parents as I picked out their treasures. This year, I used an abundance of them and was determined to find the perfect place for each one. The tree is filled with little space to spare, but each ornament stands out under its soft white lights.  

Even though the pain in my heart returns at this time, the love and memories are greater. I give thanks that they are still with me, in so many ways, on ordinary days and soon at Christmas.

As I carry out the final tasks to celebrate our Lords’ birth, I honour my mom and dad and all my loved ones who are no longer here. Time continues to soothe these losses, once raw, with their absence filling many precious moments now part of my heart.

Wishing you all a Happy and Holy Christmas.

Copyright (c) 2021 all rights reserved, Jackie Kierulf, writer

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