the neon-pink Christmas tree…

I was met at the airport by a delighted dog in fairy
wings – why wings? I don’t really know.

My brother and the pup picked me up, drove me dozing home, and ushered me in to see a neon-pink Christmas tree – complete with matching tinsel and candy striped sugar canes.

We mulled our strategies for this first Christmas after dad’s death in advance, and agreed we wouldn’t try to reincarnate any other year, wouldn’t try to resurrect much-loved stories with the key character missing. It felt like time to set a new stage.

This year funny-awful seemed curiously apt, so the princess pink tree was just perfect. It was a good start to our efforts to start some new traditions of our own, to pitch for a different kind of Christmas.

My mum is away and the house is empty. But it is hard to feel alone when I keep finding her thoughts filling the fridge, bursting from the kitchen cupboards, knotted up amongst the decorations she took the time to hang, for a Christmas she knew she would miss.

I have not seen my friends in months but they’re with me too. I’ve found their affection packed up in paper and ribbon. I have felt held by kind words, felt warmer on a cold day to know I had been remembered, thought of, even thousands of miles away.

Of course, amongst all that I have, all I’ve come home to, there are empty spaces; the have nots, the memories that tug tears and choke.

My dad is very much in my thoughts, in my heart, brimming at the back of my eyes. I wish he was sat in his chair. I wish I could tease him for losing my presents, for wrapping them in a bin bag, for buying me the same thing as last year…

There are many things that have passed away. There are sadnesses enough to sink in. But I would be a fool to fuss and fret for long when I am so evidently, abundantly loved, when I see clear signs that love continues, springs unabated, unseen, unheard, long distance.

So I let the tears come and go like the showers that pit-patter the window panes with futile tantrums. They rage and rattle, howl and bluster, but they will not shake or shift the house.

I am snug in the simple truth that I have a great deal to be thankful for, blessings to honour with happiness.

I have thought a lot about the gifts I would like to give my dad this year, been moved to tears by things I knew he would love.

But there are still gifts I can give him. For him, I will try to strike another light, kindle it, be kind to it, blow it bright, and not sit longer than I need to in the grip of grief and the dark of the night.

Merry Christmas.

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9 Responses to the neon-pink Christmas tree…

  1. cuhome says:

    The heartfelt remembrances come through the images in your post! Wonderful! It sounds like your dad would like this blog-gift!

  2. Kathy says:

    I loved your blog and I hope you were able to enjoy your Christmas without your dad. I know how hard it is. You wrote “Of course, amongst all that I have, all I’ve come home to, there are empty spaces; the have nots, the memories that tug tears and choke.” The thing that stood out most to me was “empty spaces.” I wrote a blog once Thanksgiving about the empty place at our table that no one could fill. I just celebrated the fourth Christmas without my mom, and besides all the dishes I cooked using her recipes, this Christmas was least like the ones we celebrated with my mom. I didn’t even feel like Christmas to me. We didn’t spent time around my dad’s beautifully decorated 11 foot tree opening our gifts like we have in so many years past. It seemed like this beautiful tree went to waste as we opened gifts in another room this year. My only joy came from watching my kids, especially my 5 year old daughter, rip open their gifts. So much is different now, so much has changed, and I’m not entirely happy with it. But I don’t know what to do. My mom is gone and I can’t bring her back. She made Christmas special for all of us. My mom was Christmas for me. But with my dad getting remarried, things will never be like my mom’s Christmas. I can remember my mom at Christmas, but can’t talk about her openly anymore. My husband and I were talking about celebrating Christmas ourselves, at our home, taking traditions from both our families. I have time to figure it out. I don’t want to hurt my dad, but maybe it’s time to start our own traditions. Oh well, so sorry to ramble. By the way, I love the dog in the fairy wings. My daughter was wearing her’s on Christmas Eve. 🙂

    Take care, Kathy

    • Hello Kathy, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I know what you mean about a day not feeling the way it ought to – for me it was a relief that I had given myself permission in advance for the day to be something different.. then there was at least not such pain in comparison. It also helped that my brother and I could talk about dad, easily and freely in the way that is much harder with other people around so I can imagine that your dad’s remarriage introduces new strains. Maybe your idea of having a separate Christmas would work well next year. The fairy wings…. I am still laughing at those and they certainly added to the air of farce! Oddly she loves them which is half compensation for not havign any little children around to dress up!

  3. annwae says:

    I cried when i read the last paragraph. I know I owe it to my son to go on and not stay in the dark shadows, he would not have wanted that, now I can see it as a gif I can give him,

    Bless you

    • Hello Ann, there is so much feeling caught up in Christmas isn’t there? I for sure give myself cry time but I really try to also remind myself I am making choices all the time and that I some of those choices are for sure better ways of honouring my dad and remembering him well…

  4. nire says:

    i like the storm analogy because like storms, the tears serve a purpose. a cleansing and renewal. healing and growth. no sense in fighting them because they are a part of life. part of the balance.

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