December 2018

December 2018

Monday 3rd December 2018

Every year at this time I write a reasonably short letter to go with our Christmas cards. With family on both sides of the Atlantic this has always felt like a good way to keep in touch and I enjoy receiving and reading letters in the cards of our friends and distant family. Writing these letters makes us think back over the past year—(years which are passing too quickly). Throughout the week that it takes me to write this letter, we keep adding to it as more and more memories surface. "Did you include the trip to..." or "the news about..."? In many ways writing these letters helps me to remember—some good memories and some not so good. This past year was in many ways a huge mixture of both. Four significant people in our lives have passed away and it was my memories of all our good times that got me through the pain of their loss.

I don't live in the past, but happy memories give me a lot of comfort; they anchor me in the present as if they are a vessel holding me. It doesn't have to be a memory of a person—it could be a song, especially a Christmas song. It could be a smell, like pine needles and cinnamon. It could be a taste, like my mother's pecan cookies.

December is especially a time when happy memories of Christmases past come flooding back. I was so fortunate to have a mother who absolutely loved everything about Christmas, and four siblings who enjoyed the holidays as much as I did—these memories always bring a smile to my face. My mother passed away without any of the memories she worked so hard to create because she had Alzheimer's. But her Christmases live on in the hearts of myself and I'm sure in the hearts of my brothers and sister.

My Christmas wish for all my readers is for a joyful, memorable Christmas, and for the health to be able to recall past holidays as you live in and enjoy the present.

This photo is of the first time my husband and I celebrated Christmas together in 2001. Brother Dave, who passed away in May, is to the extreme left. My mother, who passed away in 2014, is at the end of the table.