It’s December 6th. The day before my late father’s birthday. Almost exactly two weeks after the tenth anniversary of my wife’s death. And two weeks before what would have been her fifty-seventh birthday. There’s nearly a foot of snow on the ground and more falling. It’s sticky enough that it covers the branches of the trees in the woods behind the house. The very same house I grew up in. The family home. Where, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I can sometimes feel my father’s ghost hovering in the darkness.
Thanksgiving was our favorite holiday. With four kids, we usually stayed home and had Thanksgiving together. I would stuff and cook the the turkey. Liz would put together the rest of the celebration. And she decorated, every year, for every holiday. She died four days before Thanksgiving. I don’t do so well with this time of year anymore. Too much loss and too much pain so close to her favorite holidays. She wouldn’t be very happy with the way I’ve folded my cards up and given in to the darkness over the last decade. But she really was the very light of the season to me and I haven’t figured out how to shine my way through the holidays since she left.
This year I’m running away. Not for the whole Christmas season, but for the week before. My best friend is celebrating a major birthday. And I’m going to step outside of myself and join her. All the other people in my life share the grief story that I carry. They may not be encased in the same amber that death has hardened around me but they don’t have the tools necessary to free me from it either. So, I’m going somewhere else in the hope that a change of venue can bring about a renewed focus on what really matters.
I can see it, off in the distance. A path towards better things. I have a brand new grandson on this earthly plane. And a two and half year old granddaughter. But I haven’t quite put them in the proper perspective in my life yet. The people who are still here, the souls who have recently arrived, and even the people I haven’t yet met are all shining lights. I just need to sort out the strings and decorate the tree anew. With a big shining star on top, maybe the light of love can show me the way forward this year.
Happy holidays one and all. Thank you for spending the time with me this year.