Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Reminiscence

I mailed out my Christmas cards Monday morning to friends and family members near and far. Preparing these greetings is a holiday chore that I actually enjoy doing no matter how tedious it may be. Because as I write out the cards, I think about the person (or people) I’m sending it to, and a whole sea of memories wash over me.

One of the first Christmases my parents shared as a married couple.
My father passed away in 2007. My mom is now living on her own.
All these individuals, old and young, have left imprints in my heart, mind and soul. Some have entered my life more recently; some have been in it as far back as the day I was born. Some have merely passed through; some have always been, and continue to be, by my side. And sadly, some are no longer with us.
My first Christmas with my family.
My father and my brother to the right are no longer with us.
Where did the time go? Where have all the years gone? It seems like only yesterday that I was opening presents Christmas morning alongside my two brothers, all of us young, innocent and na├»ve; our faith in humanity still intact. It seems like only yesterday that I believed in Santa Claus, in the tooth fairy, in a safe and peaceful world. And it seems like only yesterday that I was unaware of – and sheltered from - heartache, grief and all the other not so great ‘privileges’ of being an adult.

But the time did pass. And here I am, an adult, with all the grownup advantages – and disadvantages.

And although Christmas continues to be my favourite holiday, it is now bittersweet. It is a time of year when my heart swells with love and affection for the people I cherish. For my good fortune. For my blessed life. But it’s also a time of year when the sense of loss is magnified to a greater degree, and I remember, with a heavy heart, the individuals that are no longer here to share this wonderful time with us.

A Christmas photo with my two siblings many years ago.
My brother to the left died on April 09, 2011.
There are old friends of my parents that are no longer with us, relatives that have passed on, neighbours of my mom that I won’t be waving and wishing Merry Christmas to when I visit my family in Montreal this year. And, of course, there are once again two empty spaces in my own circle that were once occupied by my father and my brother – two of my most beloved family members, one of them having died much too young.

One of my favourite Christmas photos with my two brothers and Santa.
My brother to the left is no longer with us, but his spirit lives on in our family.
And I am reminded once again of the importance of cherishing and enjoying the people in my life while they are still here to be cherished and enjoyed. Because nothing is forever.

This holiday season, don’t get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. Get caught up in the people that are important to you. While you still can. Before it’s too late.


Below is a beautiful Christmas song to remind us all of precious moments...and special people. It just might put tears in your eyes...




22 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, Martha. When I was young, I didn't know that memories would become bittersweet as the years passed. It was quite a revelation when I first realized it -- the last illusion of youth gone, so to speak.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. All part of the 'growing pains' that we experience.

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  2. I recognize that piece of music from a Christmas movie... I wonder if it was used in 'Home Alone.' It's beautiful!

    I was very touched by this post Martha. You are so right - we need to hold close our family and friends this time of year. Our loved ones are what's truly important - not 'stuff.' We never know what tomorrow will bring. You speak from experience and I appreciate you sharing so deeply with us. Love all the pics - especially that one with Santa. So adorable :)

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    1. I think you are right about it being used in 'Home Alone'. It's quite a beautiful song.

      That's what the holidays season is truly all about. I don't remember the 'stuff' I've received over the years, but I do remember the moments I've shared with special people.

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  3. I don't ever remember being shocked that santa was fake. I think it was a few years of thinking it might be true.

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  4. It is so lovely to think back to Christmas past and enjoy all the memories.

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  5. Such a lovely post, Martha. Your family phots are so touching. Life is a circle though and as you say, unfortunately nothing lasts forver.

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    1. It sure doesn't, so enjoy the time while you can. And create memories you can cherish.

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  6. I have come around full circle with Christmas. When I was young, my parents didn't feel like I should believe in Santa so I knew he wasn't real from the very start. But was fine because I had already discovered what the magic of Christmas was. Being with family, decorating the tree and the house with my mother, and wrapping gifts with her.

    When I worked my way into retail management it all changed. I began to despise Christmas for the most part. I couldn't wait for it to get over with.

    But now that I am out of retail it has come around full circle. I really enjoy this holiday again and I always look forward to spending time with my parents, eating a nice hot turkey out of the oven, and watching a Christmas Story with my dad. That is what it is all about. I could care less if I got a present. It wouldn't bother me a bit if we got rid of gift giving all together, I will keep my family.

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    1. That's great that you've come around full circle. I imagine working in retail would definitely put a damper on the feeling of Christmas. I think many people forget what it's all about. It's too bad, because this time of year can be amazingly special. And I don't care for gift giving either. I prefer getting together with people I love and sharing a meal or some drinks, and some time together, than getting a gift. The memories will last forever, but the gift will be forgotten.

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  7. I feel heartsick for your losses :( This post made me cry. Its such a touching tribute to your loved ones. I love the first photo of your parents and the last one of the three of you is so sweet.

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    1. That first photo of my parents is a favourite. They were just starting out. I can't believe all that time together has come and gone.

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  8. I wonderful and heartfelt post Martha. The pictures of your family are beautiful and your words are such a loving tribute to all of them. This can be a sad time for many who have lost close loved ones. My parents are both gone and have been for years, my mother's birthday was not long ago. I try to remember what it was like way back when we were all together. Your loss is still very fresh and tender and it does get easier over time, but as you know that bit of sadness will never go away.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that about your parents. My mom is still alive and I hope she's here for awhile, but I know it won't be forever. It does get much easier over time, but there's always a little bit of grief that lives in us forever.

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  9. This is a beautiful post/tribute for all the loved ones in your life, Martha. Christmas can and is a very sad event for a lot of people who are missing people from all those 'empty seats'. Yet it can be a joyful time with all those you care about.
    This post was full of love and this is what it's all about.

    Oh yes, I loved those aluminum trees back in the day (as in the pic of your family). It was such a 'revolutionary' thing to have....at least around here!!

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    1. Thanks, Jim. And you are right; it's sad and joyful at the same time. We always miss the people that are no longer with us, but if we have good memories, they live on in spirit.

      I agree -- those trees were definitely a revolutionary thing!

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  10. Good on you for keeping the spirit alive, Martha...so many would let it fade away finding it too difficult to endure the past memories. There are times when I feel this way and as the "day" grows ever near I feel more of the spirit and comfort. Everyone has their story, your's will help others at this time, I believe!

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    1. It's always difficult when you miss people, but there are people still here that we are able to enjoy. I think that's what keeps us going, and makes this holiday so special.

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  11. What a beautiful post, Martha. Thanks for sharing your treasured family photos. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a sibling. My three sisters, my brother, and I are so close - so my heart really goes out to you at this time. I have lost both my parents, but I think of them every day, and they ALWAYS made the holidays special. Memories are wonderful. Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. It's a horrible experience to lose a sibling, at least this young. We expect that one of us will go first eventually, but not until we are quite old. Thank goodness for special memories to help us along the way as we deal with grief.

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