The song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, still makes me cry. There are so many people I love, who are in Heaven, who won’t be coming home for Christmas.
The advertisers make the holiday celebrations appear so jolly. People shopping, carrying bags of gifts all wrapped up, sometimes there’s even snow and the people are all smiling. Some of the folks in those commercials are carrying six bags without even grimacing. Even with all the excitement of the season, my heart still hurts.
The commercials with families gathered around a long, beautifully decorated, dining table make me long for days of old when my parents, in–laws and a few friends were still alive. Even today, years later, I still feel that empty presence at the table when we gather. Initially, I tried to keep the conversation light and make everyone laugh, ignoring the sadness. Then I realized that if we’re not sharing their memory, we miss the opportunity to keep their spirit alive.
And so it began, the memories surfaced gently as we talked about the little funny things. “Remember Pop always made a little goblet out of the silver paper in his spearmint gum? We sipped water from it like it was so fancy. I still think of that when I see that gum in the grocery line,” my daughter said.
“Remember the time when Nan was babysitting us and someone came to the door. Winston (165 lb Mastiff) ran between her legs and she rode on his back to answer the door?” my son asked. We all laughed at that story. That’s an image that’s hard to forget.
“Remember the time Pop took us out on the boat and we caught all those fish? Oh and don’t forget the time we went crabbing and they got out of the bucket! Everyone was screaming,” my younger daughter piped in. More laughter ensued.
A tough one is the memories of my sister-in-law, Mimi, who died at the age of fifty from breast cancer. Her memories always bring a smile and then tears. We all still miss her.
“Remember the time Mimi had us collect shells on the beach and we took them home, washed them and painted all ninety of them? It took us hours! We laughed so hard that day. There was paint everywhere!” There’s always a silence after one of her memories.
My daughters just re-created that scene on their last visit with us. The three little ones came back from the beach with buckets of shells. They were rinsed, laid out to dry and then painted carefully. Well, maybe not so carefully. It was a spirited art experience. Mimi’s picture was placed in the center, so she could be part of the fun.
It’s little things like these that keep us close to those who have died. It keeps us close as a family, as well. Naturally, it can get emotional, but I always measured someone love for a person by how many tears they cry. What if someone died and no one cried? That would be so sad to me. Some people just can’t cry and that’s okay. They still feel the pain.
Tears are not a sign of weakness. They’re just a little waterspout straight from your heart.
Go on, grab some tissues, share some memories and enjoy the time with your entire family, those at the table and those who are watching from above.
Buy yourself a copy of Angel Bumps, Hello From Heaven to lift your spirits this season. Enjoy sixty stories from authors around the country who share their signs from a loved one in Heaven. Let’s keep those memories alive.
Contact me for an autographed copy and I’ll gift you an Angel Stone. firstname.lastname@example.org