I sit here tonight editing like a mad woman and I am listening to the Christmas station on Pandora to get into the spirt of the season because Thanksgiving is over and everyone knows you can legally listen to Christmas now without looking like a psycho. (Who am I kidding? I’ve been listening to Christmas music since July. Kidding…sort of) This busy season for me is one where the days and nights start to blur together and I am on auto mode trying to navigate client orders and be a mother and a wife. As I sat editing tonight, the Christmas song, “I’ll be home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby came on. I have a very specific memory from my childhood with that song and every time I hear it, it makes me both sad and also so grateful.
When I was a little girl, I was at my Nana and Gramps’ house during Christmas time. They had a little Christmas tree they had decorated and put on this ledge of a bay window in their kitchen. I remember their home only being illuminated by the lights of that little tree one night and that song by Bing Crosby was playing. Ever since, whenever I hear that song, I have always remembered the happiness and safety I had always felt at my Nana and Gramps’ home and it makes me miss them something fierce.
Whatever it is about the holidays, why does it make us miss those we have lost so much? I suppose it’s because the holidays are full of parties and get togethers and so many memories are associated with “being together” and it hurts to realize that several traditions included people we loved to be around whose physical presence is now missed. I have known quite a bit of loss within my life and am no stranger to grief. I lost my dad when I was 6, not to death, but to several life choices he made, I’ve lost 2 best friends I had growing up, I’ve watched a dear friend, brother and cousin lose his life to cancer and I’ve lost my beautiful Nana and Gramps. Grief is a very hard thing. I’m not sure if you can fully appreciate it or understand it until you go through it. I think what hurts the most about it is trying to figure out what to do with all the heart ache and questions that arise when you lose someone. Grief is not a destination you reach and then you’re over it and you’re totally healed and all is well. Grief is a process and a journey. It’s a bit like a never ending staircase; at one point, you’re at your highest high but then find yourself at the bottom again, having to walk back up the staircase and its a never ending cycle of ups and downs. Grief becomes a “new normal” and just a part of your everyday, changed life. There is no time limit on grief and I absolutely hate it when people say things like, “can’t you just get over it?” I don’t think we ever forget people we’ve loved and I certainly don’t think you ever just “get over it”. When people have been a part of our lives, they leave an imprint on us forever and I believe they literally come a part of us. We don’t ever forget people we’ve loved and had memories with and I believe one of the hardest things we have to deal with in our adventure in this life is to go on with our lives when people have leave at times.
In light of the holiday season, I like many others, find myself a bit heart broken and sad while remembering those I’ve lost. Please be patient with us. Love us, don’t leave us alone, talk to us, talk about those we loved and lost and include us. We need it! Every time I hear “I’ll be home for Christmas”, I’ve always thought of Nana and Gramps but now since they’ve moved onto another adventure of their existence, it means even more to me now then when it did when they were alive and well. Those we love never truly leave us. They live on in our hearts and in our memories. They live on in the years of traditions celebrated together and traditions we continue to practice. These people we love DO come home for Christmas if we allow ourselves to feel them and to remember them.
If you are someone who has lost a loved one, my heart goes out to you. I get it. I understand it and it is a terrible, painful journey but remember these ones you’ve loved and celebrate them. I hope you all feel that they come home for the holidays this year in your hearts and your minds.