The Tree Of Christmas

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” – Buddha

Tonight was about decorating the Christmas tree and the house.  It has been a busy week, but finally some time was found for the tradition.  And as my nephew and went through all the Christmas decoration boxes, unpacked the ornaments and decorated the tree, I could not help but feel a bittersweet tinge.

The first Christmas without my father, the second without Mom, and the first without both of them. It felt surreal to put all the ornaments that I remember seeing as a child.  I told my nephew some funny stories about a few of them, and which ones were his grandmother’s favorite, which ones where bought at which places, and some stories behind a few of them.

And the stockings are hung, the lights are out, the Christmas candle holders, candles, figurines, places mats, table cloths and more.  We listened to the Christmas carols as we put everything out.

The torch has been passed on to me – the traditions, the decorations, the stories.  I only hope that I make them proud, but I think they are happy as they look down. I am at the last part of the grief process – acceptance.  I will take my place, as they would want.

I will miss them terribly this Christmas, and all others to come, but I still must celebrate life and love. And I remember how terrible the holidays were last year and am suddenly thankful that is all  in the past.

As I close out this year, this terrible, hard, painful year, I am also thankful for the good times there have been.  I am thankful for the family, for the friends and for the love I have witnessed.  I am thankful for new love and new beginnings in new chapters. I look forward to the wonderful opportunities ahead.  I look forward to kisses under the mistletoe, naughty hot chocolate with friends, and life in general.  This Christmas is about saying goodbye in the best way, and saying hello to everything coming.

And maybe that is the gift of this holiday season, with this tree, and these ornaments and this life.  Maybe it is the chance for happiness and all of my dreams to come true. They loved my with all of their hearts, and loved me enough for a lifetime.  And I will love my life and all those in it with all of my heart.


Something I post, but this year it is especially meaningful. Enjoy!

The things I have carried up until now, as I stand on the cracked, red lip of another year, are in no particular order or arrangement.

I have carried one-liners, favorite quotes, scribbled bits of poetry, a note that he wrote to me when we were 15 and perfect.  I have carried pursefuls of pens.  I have carried picture frames that outline the faces of those I love most and best.

I have carried a fat cat, and an affectionate cat, and too many plants to count, all of which I tried to water regularly and most of which, eventually, sadly, leaf by browning leaf, withered and then, finally, died.  I have carried graves.  I have carried the souls of the dead.

I have carried the promises, broken and kept, of those who I loved best and most, and who loved me.  I have carried the hopes of relatives, the fear of children, the victories and defeats of my friends.

I have carried kisses and promises.  I have carried lust and shame.  I have carried emptiness.  I have carried regret. I have carried more love than I could possibly hold.

I have carried plans, candles, movies and paintings, old books and old pictures, my father’s words and my mother’s crocheting, my sense of self, my understanding of and praise for whom I am in this world…all from the warmth of my childhood home. From the love of my parents.

I have carried my stuffed mouse, Mousey, from my first bedroom, to my first apartment, to living with a man I thought would be my husband, and back to Atlanta.  He is ragged and old now, but I carry him, gently, with fondness.

I have carried my wedding band.

I have carried tall tales and secrets and the sounds you made in the morning. I have carried your kisses.

I have carried men who used me, men who loved me, men who never understood and men who understood too much, men who came in shadow, men who never came at all.

I have carried my sister, and I have let her carry me.

I have carried my heart, one beat at a time.

I have carried the whip.

I have carried this body onto a horse, into a pool, across miles of road, across mountains and oceans and on a boat.  I have carried the map I canvased along the way.

I have carried books from childhood, from college, from used bookstores in many small towns, from my parent’s shelves, from my sister’s attic, from my brother in law’s collection, from friends, from strangers, from the bum on the street, and from you.  Yes, even from you, too.

I have carried many titles—and not all justly given.

I have carried journals; I have carried many, many journals, and I have carried the stories they tell me, in my own handwriting, and I have carried disbelief, horror, joy, and pride for the person I read about as I flip the pages.  Those, too—those pages, those stories—yes, I carried them.

I have carried every single one of our conversations.

Lately, though, I have carried on, without carrying you. I have carried on without your weight.

I have carried children.  I have carried heartbreak.  I have carried my friends’ and my sisters’ tears.  I have carried hope.

I have carried a great many things.

And still…still, my arms, my heart, are not full.

Because all I have carried cannot, will not, should not, stay with me.

And because, mostly because, all because:  I have carried the letting go, too.  And it is the letting go that will carry me forward.

Let Them Go

We all have times in our lives where we have to let people go when that is not what we want to do.  but it is necessary to do this in order to be truly happy in life. Whether it is someone walking away or if we need to do the walking, whether it is a friend, romantic interest, partner, co worker or even family, sometimes we just have to let them go.

This was a very hard lesson for me to learn.  And I held onto my ex longer than I should have, because I loved him, because it hurt to much to let go, because I had suffered so much loss already.  But trying to hang on only prolonged the inevitable and made both of us miserable. Had I let go earlier, there would have been more room for better people a lot sooner.

And it is frustrating to watch someone we love hang on and refuse to let g as well.  One of my best friends is hanging on to a man who is terrible for her.  He has many substance abuse issues, is manipulating, lies and is not in a good place in his life where he has anything to offer.  He will be toxic to anyone he comes across until he deals with his issues. But she doesn’t see that.  She sees him as the nice person he is 2% of the time.

Why don’t we let go when we should?  Why do we hang on longer than we should to unhealthy relationships?  I don;t know. Maybe it is the fear of being alone, maybe it is the hope that things will work out, maybe it is because we don;t think we deserve any better, or that his person is the best we can do. Or maybe a thousand other reasons.  I really do don’t know.  But what I do know is that if you want peace and happiness in your life, you have to trust that the people who are supposed to be in your life, will be in your life.  And let the rest go.

This clip says it the best: