Christmas Memories

Christmas is a time of joy, a time of giving, a time of love. For most people, it is a great time of year because they can just settle down from busy lives to celebrate with their family and friends. For me, it is still a joyous time, but it is also one of memories, good and bad.

With Christmas just tomorrow, I find myself reminiscing with past Christmas memories. Some are of joyous memories, others are more painful, some are a combination of the two. Christmas for my family now, is not like it once was. In years before my mother died we would have our tree, and have the most fun with decorating it in Christmas baubles and lights and the like. We would have our house decorated in the beautiful colors of red and green, and have gorgeous lights hung outside as well. But now, we don’t have our lights, we don’t have our decoration, we don’t even have our tree. We still celebrate with presents, Christmas movies, and a lit fireplace, but it’s still not the same. It will never be the same, it will never have my mother’s laughter, her smile, or her powerful presence throughout the house ever again. I accept that, I have to, the hardest part is integrating it into my life.

I find myself thinking back to past Christmases, the happier times. Perhaps it is my own doing because I want to find relief, maybe it’s the Ghost of Christmas Past helping me relive them, whatever it may be, the thoughts go through my mind, and I cannot stop them.

I remember one Christmas, many years ago. I would have been very young, maybe six or seven. My mom and I were decorating the tree, and she had just finished moving the ornaments I had placed in awkward areas. After we finished, we placed the presents around the tree, again with her moving the presents I placed in awkward positions. My dad was in the other room and my mom went to check on him, so I decided I would play with the tree a bit and hid behind it to play with the pine needles on the floor. I don’t know how long I stayed behind the tree, but it was long enough for my mom to become a bit worried from not being able to see me, so she called for me and I poked my head out from behind the tree, as if life were a cartoon. She giggled and helped me out from behind the tree, I remember laughing in sheer joy while she did it.

A more recent Christmas comes to my mind now, my dad was in town for the holidays, my brother was here with his daughter, and my mom and I decorating a bit. When my mom decided to start decorating the tree, we tried to get my niece, who would have been three at the time if I remember correctly, to help decorate the tree as well, like I did many years past. She was like me in every way when I was young, placing ornaments in strange or obscure places, but still giggling in amusement while doing it. I still remember the best part of her decoration, she tried to help my mom place the lights on the tree, but for some reason began to walk away with the lights. She almost pulled the tree over, and my mom was giving off a light hearted cry for help while we all took the lights from my niece. None of us were mad, we were all laughing because of the fantastic memory we received, and would most definitely remember in future Christmases.

My memories are not all happy of course, now my mind runs across the last Christmas of my mother’s life. It was a very painful Christmas. The most painful memory of it all, was seeing her walk around the house. Because of the cancer she was very weak, she could barely even walk. She had to rely on the use of a cane to move about the house, it broke my heart. By all rights she shouldn’t have been home for that Christmas, but my father thinks it was because the doctor knew. He knew that she wasn’t going to make it, and he wanted her to spend one last Christmas with her family. No matter how painful the Christmas was, I am forever grateful that we could at least spend it together. It wasn’t all pain though, I remember when we were opening presents. My brother had pulled together what little money he could to buy her a figurine of one of her favorite comic book characters. When she opened it I can remember her faint smile of joy upon seeing it, one of the last I would see before she went into the coma.

Now it is Christmas Eve, she is not here, and never will be again. I do wish she could be here, like anybody else would, but it will not happen. My Christmas memories will be different from now on, both painful and joyous. I hope that my future memories will not bring me grief, and I don’t believe they will. I have good feelings about this Christmas, as I am sitting here, looking up at my niece and brother building a Gingerbread House together, and loving the sight of it.

I would like to take a moment to wish all of those who read this Happy Holidays, and give another thank you for taking the time to read, God Bless.

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I am Stephen Gohlmann, my friends online know me as Dsc.
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