Saturday, December 26, 2015


Photo by Beth Boyce. Used with permission. 

Well . . . made it through the Christmases—Eve and Day. So much to talk about. So much emotion. So much heartsickness. So much joy. So much reminiscing. So many tears.

The second half of the month did not get any easier than the first. Sue Benson, in true simpatico fashion, came over to help decorate the tree. We set the tree up in its stand, gave it a good drink of water and then waited for the limbs to drop. We wrapped presents that had been purchased online and arrived in a timely manner. Together, we tackled the bins that contain the family Christmas garnishing. We unwrapped ornaments and organized the layers of embellishments that would bedeck the beautiful tree. It was a fun afternoon. She asked about the ornaments and I retold and relived the story of each pretty little thing that allowed it to earn its rightful place on the tree. You were such a big part of the core theme of the tree. Remember when you and I found the earth colored garland and tree bark covered trinkets at the Bedford Mall? You were in high school and we changed our tree around that year. Jason got a kick out of that story—Matthew shopping with Mom for Christmas goodies! The tree topper still stands a purchase on one of our many missions to the Big City from a boutique store on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn. The memories were so great, the emotions so high that it took me another six days to finish decorating the tree. 

I’ve been so entwined in our Past, Present and Future this month. Where one ends—may it be a memory, an event, an old Christmas letter—it stands on its own in the past then morphs into the beginning of the present and together they will herald what is to come of our future.

I was blessed with two great gifts this Christmas. The first came from Beth, your WingWoman. After a very emotional conversation that we shared, she (probably unbeknownst to her) created the seeds of awareness that led to many phone and text conversations, with laughter through tears, with my siblings and others very concerned about the expectations and lack of for our traditional family celebration. Feelings that had been stirring, stewing for quite a while—feelings with no name, feelings that were well known to my soul, living in my heart, lacking clarity in my mind and unable to utter a sound through my voice were suddenly noticed, acknowledged and released from the angst that was taking up precious space on my path to healing. We were able to walk into the air of celebration together with the strongest bonds of familial love sitting in everyone’s heart.

My second great gift came from you—your sign to Nikki that you were with us Christmas Eve. It was a quiet sign, a private sign, a much needed sign. As Nikki was rocking, soothing, comforting Bear during her nightly routine, she found herself in a darkened room at Auntie Ham’s and Uncle Dick’s (Addy’s new name for Auntie Pam). Missing you, filled with lonely love, Nikki started to speak to you. “Are you here tonight? I want you to be. Please send me a sign.” Her next thought was “what can he do, I am in a darkened room?” Baby Bear pulls out his pacifier, says “Dada” and starts laughing. By touching her heart, you touched all of ours. You are only a thought away!

Collin and Bear Bear are sporting your embroidered corduroy Christmas pants, continuing your tradition. We’re starting a new one—I hope you heard. A different Christmas Eve called for a break in tradition. I wanted to speak to our Past, Present and Future. I wanted to toast our Beloved whom had gone to the Other Side while bringing you all into our Present. Our Present now holds seven little souls waiting to learn about us from us. I thought of the very inspiring words you had sent me months ago to help me along my journey. This toast was the opportune time to allow the message to continue healing. Our new tradition will include a toast to the Past, Present and Future bringing you into our Christmas celebrations—allowing you to be a part of our Present. We’ll take turns penning an annual toast. We are Family Strong. 


. . . and here I sit, the day after Christmas. Reflecting on how flat my emotions were Christmas Day. The utter fatigue and exhaustion that come from living through the ‘Firsts’ took over. I wanted to take the tree down to be done with this Holiday Season. Instead, I got a good look at the ache that sits with the joy and realized that it is an invisible weight, the weight of a heartsickness that sits on my chest. A weight that makes breathing a concerted effort. A weight of a new landscape that must be explored—a weight that must be carried. A weight that is a part of my new normal. I’ve taken this opportunity to sit with the ‘flat’ and this weight, and am trying to bring this feeling into the present—where healing occurs. The tree remains standing for one more day. I’ve added the hand-made gingerbread ornaments Elouise gave to Dad and I. I’ve added the Present and our Future to this tree of ours that holds so much of the Past. 

Photo by Kerri Anne

I’m thinking of your little Snow Angel. I look at that innocence. I look at that joy and wonder. One day, in the not so distant future, her little heart will discover that joy sits beside the ache in this life and that it is OK. I’ll teach her that our Love for Daddy is a Forever Thing, and he’s shown us that he is only a thought away. I’ll show her that we heal from tragedy. I’ll surround her in the magnetism of Love. I’ll heal so that I can help heal her. Addy knows that when we want a feeling, or a memory to stick that we ‘rub it in’. I’m going to rub in the comfort of old memories, the blessedness of the lives you’ve left us with. I’m taking the time to rub in the tools I’m learning on this journey to healing. Stay in the present. It all comes back to Love. I am not alone. I can laugh through the tears. I use my voice to connect, comfort and receive as well. The web that holds onto grief is large enough to hold onto Love as well. Grief is a teacher. Love is healing.

A prayer Matthew—
Create a bridge between the joy and the ache
So that we may always find our way home from one to the other
Gently remind us that our past holds the key to our present and our future
Let us visit the past, rejoice in it, yet move it forward
Help us to find our healing in the Present
Bring guidance and light into our Future
Captain our teaching of the Little Ones

Love you Forever and Always—Missing you Forevermore



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