Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, Snow is glistening...
The song called Winter Wonderland drifts through my mind on an almost constant basis these days. It truly is a wonderland outside...everything has a lovely skim of fresh, powdery Snow. The Christmas lights decorating the front entrance, along with all the Snow, should put me in a Christmassy state of mind.
So far, though, the Spirit of Christmas has passed me by.
It may be because a viral bug has found me. My nose is running and my bones ache, my mind is cloudy and my eyes are red and sore. But today....ahh, today I will put the bug in his place!...I have presents to wrap and send.
No matter how I feel, when I get down to actually wrapping all those bags and bags of gifts Santa just plunked down on the guest room bed, there is an insidious feeling that takes over.
The Christmas Spirit is stealthy and cunning like this. I find myself wrapping a gift, in a rather resentful manner, because I'd far rather be lying on the couch...and suddenly, sneakily, the Spirit tickles my mind. I begin to think about the recipient of the gift, how surprised they might be, and how happiness will bubble over when they receive it.
Love makes itself known along with the Spirit, of course. I will miss my family over Christmas...they have travelled to Mexico...but Love still overflows when their gifts are wrapped, with a special bow here and there. And yet, still, it feels bittersweet, this wrapping of gifts...
My grandson asked me yesterday if I was going to be there at his special place in Mexico. I almost lost it then, when I told him I wouldn't be, that I would see him very soon after his return. I will miss my granddaughter's sixteenth birthday celebration as well. And so, you see...the Christmas Spirit, as sneaky as he is, still can have a difficult time with me.
It is always thus, every year, really, whether I see my family or not. Thirteen years ago, my daughter died on December 30. Even yet, it feels as if a Stone has been placed on my chest, more so at this time of year. And many of us feel so, if an anniversary of a death should happen around the time of Christmas and the New Year.
I wish I knew how to remove the Stone.
The Spirit of Christmas, however, does not let all these sad events hold him back. He insists on arriving, whether or not I am remembering a tragic time. And with his arrival, even if the Stone is hampering my breathing, things become easier.
Why not, after all?...I ask myself. There is nothing I can do about the past...why should the past now have the power to tell me how to feel today?
A beautiful sight...we're happy tonight...
Last week, a dear friend said to me...Can you even begin to imagine what Katrina's first Christmas in Heaven was like? Can you imagine what Earth would look like from Heaven, with all the lights and good cheer? The young children's voices in all the school choirs would float upwards...she said... and for Katrina, for whom Christmas was her favourite season, wouldn't she love it so?
Yes, she would...I said...She would, indeed!
And with that, the Stone becomes a little bit lighter.
Because my daughter loved Christmas, most years I remember that. With the rest of the family gone this year, I have allowed myself to sink into Grinchiness.
But with Christmas music playing, with all the gifts only half wrapped, I think it is time to join in on the joy of the Season. Sadness has no place amongst all those gaily wrapped gifts.
I recall, when my granddaughter Brianna was about a year old, how Katrina and I and Bree went to a very beautifully decorated home. As we wandered through the garden Katrina said...Isn't this just the most beautiful and happy place on Earth?... I looked at her own enormous beauty, with her eyes shining with love for her baby...and I thought, yes, right now, this moment, there is nothing lovelier.
And at Christmas, this is the memory which takes over. And I still think there can be nothing lovelier than that extraordinarily clear remembrance of my daughter.
Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is a new bird....
Years ago, I told my daughters, when we went for a walk, that they could each hold one of my arms. Heidi always took my right and Katrina always took the left arm.
And today, even though a cold bug found me, even though the Stone still finds its spot over my heart, I will go for a walk.
During that walk, I will feel my daughters' hands clinging to their preferred arm. They may not be here with me, but their energy is. Just as my grandchildrens' loving thoughts will surround me, as well.
The Stone will become almost non-existent.
And then, later on, I'll conspire...
To face unafraid, the plans that we made, walking in a Winter wonderland!