Christmas. The time for carols and snowflakes. Good will and jingle bells.
Long, lazy days building memories over games and hot chocolate curled around a fire.
Or have I been watching too many Hallmark movies?
For me those are my memories of Christmas with one missing element – family.
Like so many people family makes the Christmas season for me.
My family moved around a lot growing up.
But there was always the promise of going home over the Christmas season.
By home, I mean my grandparent’s house.
It was the place to be for most of Christmas and it was always the place we could come back to that was familiar even when we were living in the most unfamiliar places.
So many years we spent our Christmas holidays snuggled in from the snow with our grandparents until they moved to St. George, Utah which we glorified in the warm sun over the holidays and great shopping.
Even as an adult my siblings and I always wanted to go “home” to their house.
But it all changed in March of 2015 when my grandma unexpectedly passed away.
My grandpa followed along only 2 weeks later – a true love story.
Their deaths shook our family to the core. Our home, our center, the only permanent place of my childhood was gone.
It felt like the core of who I am was now in question because I didn’t have those two precious people on earth holding it up for me.
My parents was devastated, my siblings were sad and I couldn’t even process the emotions that were encompassing me.
I felt like nothing would ever be the same again.
And all I wanted was for it to be okay again--like it was only weeks before.
I wanted to be 8 years old traveling through the night, anxiously looking for that light in Grandma Bo’s kitchen to be on, waiting for us to come home again.
But that couldn’t be.
With time, I have come to realize that we all have loss.
We all have grief.
Things beyond our control happen and we can’t go back in time.
So how do we move on when all we want to do is cling to the past?
We have to start somewhere--no matter how small and take a step forward.
So for this year I am redefining Christmas for me.
Yes, I will still be yearning for my Grandma’s sugar cookies and wishing I could play one more round of Skipbo with her but I am going to start incorporating those memories for my kids.
I will make her cookies with them.
I will tell them about how I used to sneak into the kitchen late at night for a cookie and Grandma would be waiting to pour the milk.
I will tell them about how much she loved them so that they don’t forget and, mostly, so I don’t forget how much she loved me, too.
You see, I can’t change many things but I can redefine how I look at Christmas.
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