As Christmas approaches there is an almost eerie presence of holidays past lingering throughout the house. The memories of years gone by are fresh and ripe for the picking. Laughter and excitement fill the unspoken thoughts and I wonder if these will ever fade. This is to some a very hard time after losing a loved one...wow, saying that out loud feels like I am walking in somone elses shoes. I don't talk like that, I never lost a loved one, I had never really been through this. But as I go through it this year, I realize that I am no longer in a haze. I no longer feel the stabbing pain of regret and denial. I have only shed a few tears so far, and they have been tears of joy at the delightful memories that the holidays evoke. Its almost like a legacy, a mantle, these memories. And then yesterday I recieved the best gift anyone could have ever given me...
I was in the garage as I often am these days, looking for something that has been boxed up and unpacked since we moved into my childhood home a year ago. I saw an unfamiliar box covered in dust and I immediately took a look inside. It was a box filled with notes and letters and rantings and tears. It was the fruit of many years of my moms emotional work. She had boxed up notebooks full of the "hot penning" she had done at one of her many "Beginning experience" weekends she had participated in after my dad and her had divorced. I felt like it was a gift from my mom to me at this time of my life. Something about being in your forties, you start to look at your life and realize where a lot of your habits, hangups, hurts and overall dysfunction stem from. Mine in particular always seem to be traced back to my relationship, or lack there of, with my dad. I can clearly see a pathway that has led me to the spot I am at right at this moment. Within these notes were letters that my mom had written to my dad, whether she sent any of them I have no idea, but the revealing of her raw emotions during that pivotal time in all of my families lives was so cathartic. It felt like a healing balm flowing over me as I read page after page...the passion with which she cherished her children, the mothering instinct that saw every effect and stumbling block that my fathers actions caused in her kids lives was like a light bulb turning on. Seeing the situation from her unique perspective was so insightful and helped me in ways I can hardly express. Part of what eats at me is the lonliness of those years, the feeling that I was alone and that no one stood up for me. But reading this reminded me that my brother, sister and I had an advocate, we had a lawyer, we had a friend...my mom. In the midst of all her pain she felt at the failed marriage she had, her main concern was what the effect on us was. All her hopes and dreams, diminished, but her belief in the goodness within each of her children was tireless and trusting. I heard her pain, but I also heard something much deeper resounding off of those pages...it was hope, it was purpose, it was love.
So I am sharing that today, because I really want to focus on the gifts money can't buy this season, the ones that are truly precious and if we just look around, are within our grasp daily. I have been given a gift in the months passed, being able to enjoy such bittersweet memories, but the priceless gift of my moms love and compassion is still resonating within my life. Take a look at the beautiful gifts you have been given, they are all around you, don't get hung up on what you can or can't buy, its temporary and feeds a need or a want for mere moments. Have a spectacular day unwrapping what is already yours.