As the song sung by Charlie Brown and his friends goes, Christmas time is here. Or at least it will be here tomorrow.
And while there is certainly happiness and cheer, as well as snowflakes in the air in certain parts of the world during Christmas time, for many people, this marks the first Christmas without a loved one.
This is the position that I find myself in following the death of my Grandmother in November.
While I knew that my Grandmother was gone, I was reminded again last Sunday that this would be the first Christmas without her. While I was tidying up my desk, I came across a pile of Christmas cards from last year. Among the cards in the pile was one from my Grandmother.
While more and more people are choosing electronic ways to send Christmas greetings, my Grandmother, who never owned a computer, never sent a Christmas tweet, nor posted anything other than framed pictures on her “wall,” always sent a traditional Christmas card with the help of the United States Postal Service.
As I was reading the card from last year, I realized that for the first time since I could remember, there would not be any more Christmas cards from her.
While I was saddened by this thought at first, I looked at the card again and saw two doves and the word joy on it.
The stack of cards has been on my desk undisturbed for nearly a year. However, by going through them this past weekend I was reminded from beyond the grave to have joy for the season despite the feeling of loss.
While I was thinking about my Grandmother Sunday, I remembered that I was to attend my final holiday concert of the season that evening and needed to decide what I would wear.
As part of my preparations for being a pall bearer at my Grandmother’s funeral, I bought a new suit jacket since I had increased in circumference since the last time I wore a suit.
The black suit jacket I found was both stylish and befitting my circumference allowing me to join my cousins in our official duties at the funeral.
Since returning from the funeral in November, my suit jacket has sat neglected and alone in a dark closet devoid of purpose, aside from perhaps striking up conversations with the other jackets that are also hanging in there.
Now I know that my suit jacket is just thread and material, so any anthropomorphic tendencies to believe that it has feelings of its own would be futile.
Instead, it was me who needed to have a better memory of wearing the suit beyond my Grandmother’s funeral.
So, I decided that I would wear the suit to put a bow on my final holiday concert of the season so to speak, and, in a way, bring my Grandmother along in spirit as well.
As I was driving to the concert in my spiffy suit and tie I realized that I was hungry and should probably eat something before the concert.
I decided to go to Dairy Queen, which as coincidence would have it was a favorite of my Grandmother’s. While walking through the Dairy Queen door I heard a small child say to his parents, “Wow, he sure got dressed up to get ice cream.”
The joke was on the child though. I did not in fact order ice cream and had a steak finger basket instead. But yes, I was probably a little overdressed for the Dairy Queen.
As it turned out, I may have been slightly overdressed for the concert as well as I was one of the few people wearing a suit who was not part of the performance, but it still felt nice to dress up.
I am glad that I decided to wear the suit to the concert to add a new memory that did not involve a funeral and carrying my Grandmother’s casket.
Beyond the Christmas card encouraging me to approach the season with joy, I will continue to remember my Grandmother in many other ways in the coming years, including when I watch her beloved Atlanta Braves play, or whenever I am shelling pecans.
I am blessed to have decades of memories of my Grandmother to call upon to help through any sad times that may arise.
Memories are certainly powerful things to be cherished. Or as Paul Simon would say, “preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go hang my stocking by the chimney with care. Merry Christmas to one and all.
Copyright 2014 R. Anderson