Last post for 2016. Lasts… firsts… we have the illusion that we have some control over them, but isn’t Life always telling us otherwise? We do what we do, and Life does what It does, and we make the best of the compromise.
I spent Christmas with my mother and my sister and her family in FL. Who was missing was my father and my brother-in-law’s father. Grandpa and Nonno. Per my blog post three weeks ago, we decided to have new ornaments for them, thanks to the suggestion in Allison Gilbert’s book Passed and Present. My niece’s gut reaction was that it would be sad and depressing, that we’d all sit around crying. Uh… NOT. The whole point was to make it a fun sharing of some memories — and more than anything, allow us to feel like they are still a part of our lives. Flesh is overrated, our spirits are always there for the taking.
(No disrespect… just noting that mortality will take us all, and you can either argue or accept it. Not that we don’t miss people, obviously.)
Back to the ornaments. If I do say so myself, it was a hit!
We were 6 Christmas celebrators bringing new ornaments for 2 favorite family members in absentia, for a grand total of 9 new ornaments, since 3 of us got one for both of them.
- 3 were handmade (of dubious quality, but hey, that’s part of the fun)
- 2 were duplicates (great minds think alike)
- 2 included photographs (helping future generations get a grip on who these old-fashioned ancestors were)
- 2 revealed tidbits of trivia that not everyone knew
Everyone, from 18 to 81 (actual ages!) had had a good time thinking about and picking out their ornament. We didn’t go hog-wild with stories, to be honest, but there was a palpable sense of significance… a heartwarming awareness that our whole family is complete only when all members are present, be it in the flesh, spirit or ornament.
That was the best. The fullness in our hearts acknowledging that though we may be looking only at each other right now… those who have gone before us are an inherent part of us. They never leave us and their spirit is built into our own.
Highly recommend the remembrance ornament. And would love to hear comments from anyone who might have been inspired to do it, too!