Be still … let the tears fall. A reminder of the years gone by brings sadness, but lots of good memories too.
Sometimes it is difficult to look into the past and not just remember the most recent holidays that we shared, because those seemed to have the most meaning for us. We knew that time was limited. We knew we had to savor every morsel of love, time and space that we possibly could. And we did. Even his last Christmas in 2013 where we were in the hospital when our family celebrated at our house without us there, we laughed and enjoyed the hospital atmosphere. It seems that Keith could spread joy or Christmas cheer no matter where he was. He did that year round.
In the late 90’s, early 2000’s wooden reindeer and wooden outdoor decorations were really big in our town. We spent a lot of time and money purchasing the tools and supplies necessary to make our own and even shared some as gifts. We started in the summer time, working in the garage alongside each other as was our favorite thing to do. We couldn’t wait to share our talents come December. Those were the days! We always split the holidays. Christmas was with Keith’s family. A few years after we were married, I offered to take over Christmas for his mom … she was thrilled! At that time, our house was small, but so filled with love and excitement, wall to wall presents and people and lots of food and cheer! These are great memories. I can reach back into the memory bank of my childhood and realize that, those too, are memories and my traditions changed once I left home. New traditions begin this year.
This has been a year of incredible change in my life. It is the first time ever that I have lived alone. It’s not so bad, really – I just have to remember that with this change, I have to not hold on so tightly to the pain that brought me here. I don’t know why things happened in my life the way that they have, but I have much to be thankful for. It’s not always easy, but I do prefer to count my blessings rather than dwell on the things that are out of my control. We are often victim to circumstance, not choice. But the choices we make will forever frame the picture of our life. I have a pretty amazing collage of memories to choose from on those days that make me weep.
I titled this post as the “Weeping Widow Willow” because that is what I have been. I do have weeping days but find that I can bend with the wind just as a mighty willow. I can spread my roots deeper into the crevice of grief but I know as I do that, I lose branches that are meant to stay close to the surface of my heart. When I stand firm in the belief that pain is the onlyway to feel, I lose the ability to sway in the breeze to allow the sun to shine under the small leafs that make up my entire self. A willow tree is monumental. My family has a history of them, starting with one my dad planted as a small child. Many of us in the family swung from that tree, which, as change would have it, was removed when my grandma passed away and her land sold. So as I weep as a widow, I am ready to keep those roots toward the surface. I will allow the rain to strengthen me and help me continue to grow. I am ready to embrace the sunshine more and willing to start enjoying new traditions.
2017 may be the year to take care of me. I have taken care of others since I began babysitting at 12 years old. I think I will plant a tree.