Where to begin?

It’s been a while. Since February, actually. So much has happened, and I don’t know the words to describe it all. Perhaps some day I’ll write about it, and document the shift I’ve encountered over the last time, but not yet.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on the Christmas/winter season quite a bit, and coming up with mixed feelings. They seem disjoined and chaotic, and most of the time quite overwhelming. So I thought I might try to write about some of them.

Today, I want to reflect on my Grandma.

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Holidays in my family have always been sacred, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the space in between. And my Grandma was the center of this. She knew how to throw a party, and create a welcoming space. She loved Christmas. So much. She decorated her home beautifully and artistically in a way that felt warm and cheery. She was very intentional about gift giving. And she fostered this in her family. It was a way for her to affirm and connect with each of us. What continues to blow me away is that she always found gifts for any visitors that we had. And they weren’t generic gifts, but thoughtful, personal gifts.

From my childhood, I remember all the good snacking foods. The smells of cinnamon and baking. Mountains of presents, that increased as each member of the family arrived. And watching my Grandma, as she talked with each one, bossed everyone around in the kitchen, prepared the food, gathered the group, and spread love to us.

I miss her. I still don’t know how to do Christmas without her. When I decorate the tree, I remember all the trees I saw in her living room, covered with santa ornaments. When I buy and wrap gifts, I remember how much she loved doing that, and I feel her with me. Many days, I put on the pearl earrings that I have of hers, and ask her to be with me.

Remembering is beautiful. And sad. I find myself crying when I stop long enough to be present to myself. Something feels missing. There’s an ache now that I don’t know what to do with, except sit with myself while I feel it. I feel joy when I find some of her qualities in myself at the same time that I ache that she is no longer here. I want things to be the way they were, the way they’ve been. And the earth still turns, and life still goes on. And somehow in the middle of all that, a rhythm is forming. Some beautiful, sad song, woven together from what was, and what is becoming. Sometimes I see that. And sometimes I’m just sad.

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