I have always loved sitting with all the lights out and staring at the Christmas tree. It mesmerizes me, really. I’ve always felt so much love from the generations gone, just from staring at the tree — all other lights off. My grandparents and my dad. My fiancé and the friends I lost. I’ve always felt their love.
I did not do that last year. Ten months after losing my son, I could not find joy in anything. Last year, the tree was one of the few decorations I put up — but I did not sit and stare at it as I had in the past. Nothing felt right last year and no … it does still not.
This year though, I decorated full force and hosted the family celebration. Of course, it wasn’t drama-free. Ugh … families.
Well now all decorations are down but the tree and the nativity scenes. Gone for another year. Even though I am no longer involved with my religion I still honor the traditions of keeping the nativity up until the wise men’s visit. The tree and the scene remain till January 6th.
All of my house plants have developed a disease and are shedding their leaves. This makes me think I have failed. Many are funeral plants. I could not save them either. My Christmas tree (artificial) is sitting between them. We had real trees while the kids were growing up but stopped that for safety reasons.
Tonight, I sat in the darkness with nothing but that tree’s lights and I smiled. Memories of years past. And then tears, because I have no idea how this happened and realize I will never know, while I am here. …
Sorry! The point of all of this is that I decided to keep my tree up all year. I am going to put up ornaments for the seasons. Starting with my son’s birthday. I have many duck decoy ornaments and I am going to get more. I will put his pictures all over that tree. And then comes Valentine’s day. I will put hearts all over that tree with cupids. And I will sit there with the lights off and stare at it like I have done for years. Oh, and let’s not forget the shamrocks, the Easter eggs, the stars for the fourth of July. Leaves for fall and turkeys for winter. Why take it down?
Why did we ever just take down the Christmas tree? That tree could be celebrated throughout the year. And the pain and storage of it all. What were we thinking? Yes, I may be becoming eccentric but honestly, I don’t care. The things that bring us peace should remain no matter the season. My tree should bring me peace like it always had throughout the year. Not just during Christmas. A new me is emerging, one I silenced to fit the mold. That mold is shattered. Thanks for always being there.
Originally published by Always4Hope on the Alliance of Hope Forum for Suicide Loss Survivors and reprinted with permission.