The holiday season has begun and while I am excited to enjoy what the season has to offer I am sad and am missing those who will not be with us this year or any of the years that follow.
This year there will be three empty chairs around our holiday table. There will be no Christmas cards arriving in the mail from my grandmother or long exciting conversations on the phone to discuss dinner plans or share exciting stories about finding bargains on the battlefields of the shopping centers. There will be no rum balls that were often times so strong I was afraid to give them to my children.
My grandfathers will not be at the head of the table to say the toast or lead us in prayer. I will not get to listen to the stories about the good old days or his voice singing the Irish jigs that he loved so much. No compliments about the meal or dollar bills being slipped to me under the table to cover a part of the meal. No faint sounds of bickering coming from the other room when gramma couldn't find the batteries for the camera or long held awkward smiles because her dinosaur camera didn't work when it was time for the family photos.
All of these things that seemed so ordinary are suddenly gone. I wasn't ready to let this all go but these things, these beautifully ordinary moments have been torn away from me and my family by the cruelty of time and disease. These memories are becoming my new found treasures and when I am quiet and if I listen hard enough I can hear their voices as though their ghosts whispered them to the wind just for me.
The Spirit of Christmas truly does live in our hearts and in our minds. It lives in the memories of our days gone by and the stories and traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation each doing their part to remember those that have passed and leave their imprint on the generations that they will leave behind when they are called home. Inevitably the seasons of change will breeze through again and more chairs will be emptied and new ones will fill. I guess that is a part of the beauty of life, it just keeps going and what dies is reborn in the physical as well as the non physical.
Death is not the end and the spirit of Christmas isn't meant to die with each loved one that moves on. It is our turn and our obligation and duty to keep their legacy alive and pass down traditions and memories and leave new ones for the generations to come. Your loved ones will be with you to celebrate though they cannot be seen. They want you to enjoy the precious moments that you have left because they understand that time on earth is fleeting. Those that have passed are so very close and they do not need to miss you because they can see you and hear you and they know that you will be reunited soon because where they are time does not exist.
Talk to them, celebrate them and love them. Close your eyes and feel them drawing close and remember their words and hear their voice. Remember what they looked like and smelled like and felt like. Their physical body may be gone but the love they had for you has only gotten stronger and if you allow yourself to feel it, you have touched heaven.
Do not suffer through the holidays. Reminisce the good times, laugh and cry with those you love. Share embarrassing stories and make new ones! Keep traditions alive and create new ones, have fun and enjoy life because one day those who love you will have to deal with your empty chair and the memories you leave them will be all they have left. You truly are loved beyond measure by those on the other side and it is so important for your loved ones to know that you are well. They want to see you smile and hear you laugh for that is when they will be able to rest peacefully.
What are some of your favorite holiday memories? Leave them in the comments below.
Love never dies it only gets bigger!