It's been seven months, eight days, and a few hours since you left us, and I am really missing you Mom. Our Christmas tree stands in the corner of the living room, bare of all decorations. I cannot seem to find the strength to unbox them and hang them on the branches, but we will, I promise. There are the little Santa boots in which you used to place tiny candy canes. I recollect the shopping trip for those little sparkling red and gold treasures, and the crinkling sound made by the cellophane lid, as you freed each one from the package. Now, I cannot bear to look at them.
Last week, I drove by your house, and noticed that the people who now live there have dressed the eaves with Christmas lights, but they are not your lights. They have no angels in their front garden, and no lights streaming up through the pine tree at the corner of the house. Mike and Charlie were not there climbing the ladder, stringing your lights across the front of the house and over the driveway, but you know that because Charlie is with you now. He is there with you and Dad and Sarah, in Heaven, and we are here, stuck.
On Thursday evening, travelling along the escarpment, I passed the hospital where you drew your last breath, and stopped at the lookout for just a few minutes. The air was so crisp and clear, and the lights from the city below sparkled against the black sky. Standing in the darkness, I closed my eyes and listened for your voice, but you were not there. Do you remember our Sunday drives in the wintertime after evening mass, when we would say the city looked 'like diamonds on black velvet'? We would just sit there in the quiet, enjoying the view, settled in the glow of contentment.
The Christmas Tree in the city centre seems much taller this year, and is all dressed in colour, but the lights glow a little less bright. They have a carousel for the children, and a little red train too. The park side is lined with small red and white houses, holding tableaus of Christmas inside their simple frames. It reminds me of meeting you outside of Eatons when I was a child, after you had finished a day's work. We would stand in the snow and the ice, waiting for Dad, and watching the whirl of figures dancing in the Christmas windows, the Nutcracker Prince, and the Mouse King, the ballerinas in fondant pink dresses and crowns of sparkling sequins.
In the cemetery, all around the grave you and Dad share, there is not yet snow, but the trees are wrapped in slender ribbons of ice, and the rain is gently falling. The winter wind has begun its rush through the trees on the escarpment, and the grass fades in patches of amber brown. I know this is the natural cycle of life, and death is the most inescapable part of it. Still, we want you here, with us, in our own ever unchanging Christmas tableau. In my mind's eye I see you and Dad, and all of us around the table for Christmas dinner, with Sarah and Ulee chasing each other under our feet. I know it's just a fantasy, and I dream about it only because I'm missing you Mom, and missing Dad and Sarah too.
Have a very Happy Christmas in Heaven, but know that here on earth, you are much missed.
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