Lately, I’ve been happily ensconced in a world of avoidance. The less I think about Christmas, the fewer the number of tears that threaten to roll down my cheeks. I have only managed to put up one Christmas decoration in my house so far. It didn’t come with shiny lights or reminders of Christmases gone by. It stands alone, in a spot that has never adorned a decoration and really looks as sad as I had been feeling. But it gives me hope that I can find some of the joy the holidays are meant to bring. If Charlie Brown can do it, so can I.
But recently I’ve felt much more like Peter Pan than a forlorn Charlie Brown. My mind has been filled with happy thoughts. Although none of them have been about the holidays, they have been happy nonetheless. I have been blissfully distracted by work, by the return of my writing muse and by reacquainting with a dear old friend. The big phantom red X’s on the calendar to indicate the counting down to the big day have gone unnoticed. Until today.
It was during an innocent trip to the Post Office when I saw him. Stealthily, he crossed the street like an apparition. His white hair and white beard made me recognize him immediately. Had he been wearing red suit, I would have thought he was Santa Claus but the all-black ensemble with a hint of white on the collar to match his beard was a glowing reminder of his true identity. He was the minister at my mom and dad’s church, a dear friend of my mom and dad’s and a good friend to our family. I knew as soon as I saw him that I would end up in tears before getting back into my car.
It’s always tough putting on a brave face when the person you are facing knows that you are struggling. I like to think I walk around in a suit of armor but on the bad days that suit is filled with nothing but a puddle. Today, seeing the sorrow and understanding in Steven’s eyes converted me from brave face to wet face in mere seconds. I knew the happy bubble could only float for so long but I certainly have been enjoying the ride.
I know my mom is around. She is the positive force making the good things pop out of nowhere when the sadness comes calling again. I can feel her energy and that makes me happy. And though this Christmas is going to be filled with some sadness and many changes, it will still be filled with a family who loves each other and cherishes the memories of the people they will be missing, especially during the coming holidays.