Christmas is hard without you, Mom.
I know you know that, but it truly is. Aside from Mother’s Day and your birthday, it’s the hardest time of year for me. It’s when I miss you the most, when I grieve the deepest, and when loneliness is my closest companion, despite the friends and family that surround me. It’s when I can’t ignore the great loss my heart has felt. I can’t even pretend to the way I can throughout the rest of the year.
Just like every cloud has a silver lining, so does this time of year. It sounds crazy, but it’s during the holidays I see you most. Every year, around this time, I go looking for you. I look for you all year, but around the holiday season, I look hard. Really hard. And I want you to know, I see you. Not in picture albums or home videos, but in my real life every day world.
At Christmas, I see you, Mom.
I see you now, even though it’s been eleven years since your eyes closed to sleep the eternal sleep. How many minutes have passed since then? How many memories have you missed? Still yet, how many memories have I forgotten we made, only to be reminded when someone you touched during your treasured time here on earth brings up your name? I see you, then. I see you in the conversation that plays out between friend and daughter, both reminiscing over the lady you were, the lady they loved, the lady they won’t ever forget.
I see you in all the little things that are Christmas. I see you in the flurries that fall and listen for the snow. Yes, listen, because on a tin roof like ours, we could hear it. I see you in the blow-up Santas and inflatable Rudolphs. I see you in the aerosol cans of snow used to paint the windows, but we painted our tree with it instead. It was white from then on. To some it would have been tacky. But to us, it was crafty, just like you.
I see you when I’m making candy. It’s not like the candy you would make at all. You had to leave before I found my interest in the kitchen, so it’s a collaboration of my mother-in-law and Google. Still, when I roll the peanut butter balls and make pinwheel, you’re there.
I see you in the lights we loved to look at on the way to your out of town doctor appointments. It was dark on those December nights, but I didn’t have to see your face to know you were grinning from ear to ear. You’d point out the lights to me, afraid I’d miss them. You loved the simple sense of wonder the lights represented. I still love it, too. And when I see those Christmas lights go up year after year, I see more than just the blinking bulbs. I see you, Mom.