Written by Krista Moyer
Published: December 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM [UTC]
I cling to Christmas. I crave it like a drowning person craves air. Because Christmas spells hope, and this is the season when I need it the most. It seems as if we always lose people this time of year. A few days before this Thanksgiving, we lost my mom in a tragic car accident. In another few days, we recognize the 29th anniversary of losing dad. In the intervening years we have lost so many other family members, usually during the holidays. In fact, when my siblings and I were at the funeral home making mom’s arrangements, the director wondered how we could be so calm and agreeable. It’s easy, we said. Nearly everyone else in our family has died. We’re experts at this.
As sad as we all are, we can’t forget to celebrate. If nothing else, our children need the normalcy. We can’t sit around in our house staring at the funeral flowers every night, after all. So last night I took my boys to the University of Richmond symphony orchestra concert to see my violin instructor play. While it wasn’t holiday music, it was still an excuse to dress up and do something special. It was my children’s first time experiencing an orchestra, and they enjoyed it. Not enough to want to take part, they said. They still think being in a rock band would be more cool, but they enjoyed the music despite the fact that there was no lead guitar. At least the opera singer was pretty, they pointed out.
Following the program, we spoke with my instructor. I haven’t been to a lesson in two weeks and we were trying to schedule something on the fly. He has so many obligations this time of year, so many demands for his skill that it’s difficult to find a mutually good time. He suggested we might meet at a church near me this week, and I could play carols in the church program that evening after the lesson. Perfect. I need that. Playing carols at Christmas makes it feel like my world is turning right side up again.
We might have funeral flowers instead of trees, and cardboard boxes of mom’s things instead of colorfully wrapped presents, but we have each other. And we have Christmas carols, and festive lights to see, and maybe (just maybe) a hint of snow in the air.
Anyway, for what it's worth, when you mentioned your pink tree I cracked a smile. This year, at my company's Christmas party, I am doing a special table. Last year, it was the "Diva" table, and all the women wore tiaras and sparkly diva outfits. This year, it will be a "Princess Christmas Barbie" table. Everything will be in gold and the most garish pink I could find. It will be fabulous. I will lift a toast to your mom.
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