Mama, today I reluctantly opened the box that held your Christmas village. Pep had given it to me awhile back because I think he could no longer bear to look at the box in the garage. So I said, "Sure, I'll take Mama's Christmas village and put it out." So in an effort to get my Christmas decorating done before I take on the business of Thanksgiving, I slowly pulled out each piece, as each piece pulled out of me the raw emotions that seem to take me hostage when I least expect it since you've been gone.
As I pulled the pieces out of the box, I smiled as I saw that each building and accessory had your name written all over it. First the church, which I set up as the center of the village. That's just like you, Mama, -- your faith was the center of your life. No surprise there. Then out came the quilt shop. This piece reminded me of how you always kept every single handmade thing we ever gave you, even pieces from the eighties which totally went out of style long ago. But we made them for you and you loved every single gift your children gave you. The last little building was a toy shop, and that too represents you in a very significant way. You have always loved Christmas. And there is not one of your children, your grandchildren, or your great grandchildren that you did not make their Christmases just a little bit better with your sweet gifts of toys and candy. My Christmases as a child remain a magical memory in my heart because of you. And then came the little people you hand-selected to go with the village. One holding a gift (the giving of gifts was your gift to others), a little man playing an accordian (you loved music), and a father and his child sledding (you always loved your kids beyond measure and was always involved in our lives). Christmas will not be the same without you this year.
As we inch closer to the holiday that you loved so much, I think back to Christmas 2013 and remember your presence in a big way. Even though you did not feel well and we had no idea that cancer had invaded your body, you made a huge effort to be there at our family Christmas gathering and had each and every one of us a gift. You just wouldn't have had it any other way. Even the years we said No gifts you still had gifts. Your gusto and love for life filled the house last Christmas. I see now looking back just how fragile you were and, oh, how I wish I'd known you were sick. We had no idea that would be our last Christmas with you, but it's probably better we didn't know. If we had, it would've been a sad Christmas and the sadness would've ruined it for everyone, and you wouldn't have wanted that. I cannot tell you how my heart hurts knowing that you will not be with us this Christmas.
You left us in the spring, when the flowers were blooming and the earth was full of life...just like you, Mama. I cannot remember a time in my life when you were not there for me, encouraging me, coaching me, pushing me on to do better and be better and to live life with passion and purpose. This Christmas I light your little village in your memory and in your honor. You gave me many wonderful Christmas gifts over the years, but none as wonderful as the gift of your love and the legacy of your faith. I love you, Mama...and Merry Christmas.
Posted by CC
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