The Holiday Cards

“Give back in some way. Always be thoughtful of others.” Jackie Joyner-Kersee

My loved one was blessed with many gifts and one of them was his artistic ability.  Knowing this I would start bothering him in late October so we – well really, he – could start designing our upcoming holiday card.  I had grown accustomed to him creating some very lovely, unique, and at times irreverent cards.  The cards ranged from a takeoff on Beavis and Butthead to him spending hours photographing our decorated dining room table and turning it into a masterpiece.  His health was the determining factor on whether we would have a beautifully crafted card in a given year. 

His health was the determining factor on whether we would have a beautifully crafted card. Click To Tweet

But on this day what comes to mind is what turned out to be the last card he ever designed and what is my favorite card.  It was one of the simplest with a navy-blue background with multiple white religious symbols on the cover and Peace on Earth as the message inside.  I remember sending this last card with fondness but on this day, I’m overwhelmed with sadness and anger.

December is here and it is ever clear that he is gone.  I do not have a personal artist to create a card and frankly I’m not in any kind of holiday spirit to even buy cards to send.  Whatever joy or happiness usually accompanies the holidays was buried with him.  But time doesn’t stand still and even though I did not send any cards I have started to receive them.  The theme seems to be the same throughout – instead of joy they are more like condolence cards.  They acknowledge that the holidays will be difficult, that my loved one will not be here to share in the joy, that he is physically gone and it will be a hard adjustment.  They even comment that he was special and will be missed and all I can think about is that this is the last fucking thing I want to see in my holiday cards.  I did not need or want another dose of reality and this is what I’m getting.

What do I do with this?  How can I turn this around?  My experience has taught me that I can stay in this feeling and be angry but I know that staying in this feeling is a choice.  I find myself saying a quick prayer which helps me start my day over so at this moment I can chose to focus on the kindness and compassion of everyone who bothered to send the cards. 

I can chose to focus on the kindness and compassion of everyone. Click To Tweet

They took time out of their busy lives to send something to me.  I know that it must have been hard to write a meaningful message to a recent widow and at this moment I chose to focus on how blessed I truly am to have these individuals in my life.

 

Marble Jar

“My love can’t be purchased… Best gifts have been well-thought-out surprises.” Nina Dobrev

I woke up this morning with one thing in mind and that was to begin my spring cleaning.  I made my breakfast and sat at the dining room table sipping on a diet coke and gazing into the back yard.  It’s a beautiful day and it is clear that spring is here as the perennials are starting to bloom.

My sights were set on cleaning my little library so I started to remove books and knickknacks off of the shelves when I came upon a marble jar that was given to me by my loved one.  The jar was one of several gifts received on my birthday five or six years prior to his death.  As I picked it up and began dusting, I decided to look inside.

As I opened the jar, I remembered all the little pieces of torn card stock and how each piece had a hand written message in gold ink.  One by one I pull out the pieces of paper and read the contents.  His thoughts, his love and his sense of humor were all there with personalized messages just for me. 

His thoughts, his love and his sense of humor were all there. Click To Tweet

The jar contained everything from the thirteen I Love You’s to ‘I couldn’t find a dust buster.’ However; when I got to the torn piece of paper with “Isn’t this romantic” I began to cry.

I sit in my library reliving the memory of this birthday gift.  What I do remember is that when I first received all the presents this marble jar was the one that I liked the least.  Little did I know that of all the gifts to be received on that day this would be the only one I remember and the one that I cherish the most.  

Reading through each piece of paper gave me an opportunity to embrace the memories of that day.  I was painfully reminded of his absence; however, what was still there and what I clearly felt was his love for me.

 

What have I learned?

I learned that I can survive my uncomfortable feeling by feeling them.  That I have a god of my understanding that has always been there and never left my side.  That I have more friends than I thought who continue to reach out and remind me that I am never alone.