This time of year brings a lot of memories – good and bad. So often it can be easy to focus on what was not accomplished, missed opportunities, or empty chairs around the Christmas dinner table.
Christmas brings a flood of memories of my mother, that 15 years of Christmases without her cannot diminish. How she loved holidays – especially Christmas. It was a time to give – and my mother loved to give. Money (which she had little of), food, time, prayer, comfort and support. She gave it all.
This Christmas Day a sweet lady from my church choir passed away. The next day a precious friend from college watched as his own mother took her last breath on Earth. This has only intensified my memories of my mother and the urgent need to share as much of her with my children, who will not meet her this side of Heaven, as possible.
However, as I sat at a table tonight with my mother’s three brothers, their wives, and assorted cousins, I realized she isn’t as distant as I sometimes feel she is. I am not alone in sharing stories of her with my children. I laughed with them over memories of years past. I listened to stories of my grandparents and realized how much my mother and uncles are like them. I saw the twinkle of my mother’s eyes in those of her brothers. I felt the warmth of her hugs in the bear-like embrace they each gave me. I heard her laughter as they laughed at the antics of my children and their cousins. I felt her acceptance as I realized that regardless of the mistakes I have made in my past (and there have been MANY), these people love me as I am. And they always will. My past does not determine my worth to them. Neither does my success. They simply love me.
I am blessed by this family. I am blessed WITH this family. I am strengthened by them. I can face my future without my mother because they are standing by me, facing their own futures without her. She was priceless to each of us and we all miss her.
While my mother may be celebrating Christmas in Heaven, I still get to feel her near me. Thanks, Mom.