A whole lot of happy, that's what!
Some of the youth from my church stopped by to carol. I stood there and laughed with them when they kept mangling the verses of the song. They gave me candy canes and a lot of smiles, hugs and love. And they were much appreciated.
For the most part, I am just skipping Christmas this year. (Do not panic, adult children o'mine: I've already wrapped your gifts.) But the decorating? It is just not going to happen. You want to know something interesting? I didn't put the decorations up until December 22 last year as evidenced by this blog from a year ago. Back then, I had walking pneumonia and missed a special friend's brunch and D's office party. The tree went up with hours to spare before our Christmas guests arrived in 2008. This year my reason for not pulling the red and green containers out is just a tad different.
One Christmas tradition that has left me in a quandary is ye olde annual Christmas letter and picture. I've never missed a year. I trooped on over to Sam's Club last Sunday to see which picture I should copy in multiples and mail to the masses. I scanned in pictures of all the kids and knew at forty cents a copy I may not be inserting a photo in every card. A sales lady came over and said, "If you get 100 photo cards, you get a special price of $15." Hmmm. Yes, please.
The next hurdle was composing the letter. I have found it is best to assume that people know about D. We decided we'd do our little "what happened during the last year" blurbs, and then we'd add a special memory of D as a little memorial.
I love the memories the kids chose:
K: My favorite memory of Dave was at our wedding. He was unable to walk me down the aisle, but he met me at the front and led us all in a family prayer. Except he was too choked up to pray. But that was OK. He always made me feel so supported.
H: When I was a little girl, Dad used to cut my hair. Unfortunately, I was a wiggly child and he could never get it even. Once I kept spinning on his work stool while he cut it, and it turned out really short. It looked even shorter after he rolled it in foam curlers!
C: On our first Christmas together, Dave dressed up like Cousin Eddie from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" movie with a thin white v-necked sweater and a black dickey. He kept a straight face the entire time, so we weren't sure if he was serious or not. He kept us laughing with his dry sense of humor.
E:I loved the time Dad took me to the AnimeFest in Dallas. We did so many fun things since Dad was so into making sure we go t the most out of it. I never have to think hard to find a good memory of Dad, but that was one of the greatest experiences of all with him.
And my contribution: Dave left behind many ways to let me know that I was loved and cared for: I found a playlist created for me on his Ipod, an envelope with money for a trip to Italy and special inscriptions written on the bottom of several pieces of furniture he built for me. He is never far from my heart or my thoughts.
We are still walking this journey toward healing from tremendous loss, but we are so blessed to have family and friends who walk alongside us. Certainly there is no better time of year to remember the hope and great joy that is ours:
"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign unto you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on who his favor rests." (Luke 2:11-14)