Today is Christmas Eve, a day of magic, a day of happiness. As a little boy I always was anxious for night time to arrive to open the presents. The grown up in me, greeted the day joyously and anticipated the family being together, particularly since it made my Mother the happiest. Out of all the holidays in the year, my Mother loved the Christmas season. All the rooms in the farmhouse were decorated when I was a small child. Then after retirement, when my parents lived in town, the house was equally decorated. In Arizona, I knew that I needed to have the Christmas decorations up early for Momma and they needed to be more spectacular each year. On Christmas eve, Momma always came to my house and stayed through the holidays. There, I also knew I should have the house cheerful and twinkling. And for the past six years in our present house I have decorated the house inside and out. Last year was significant in the amount of decorations I put up and their locations. Momma was so happy. She could see them all from where she stayed in our big Family room.
This year, Momma will not be here. This year I am letting Christmas go by.
And then at night, on Christmas Eve, an unforgettable gift arrived:
Today, quietly the eve of Christmas goes by,
it passes from gray at dawn to brilliant blue and white by noon.
And then this evening the night brings its chilly breath
to rustle through its darkened veil, whose stars glimmer upon my head.
On the eve of this Christmas, a voice whispered in my ear
from a luminescent cloud of red and blue drifting over my head.
To my ears came the same voice, the one locked in my heart
and now it comes to me from far above the blanket’s glow.
With heart beating, I question through a tightened throat,
“Momma, is that you?, are you all right?”
In return I’m asked why I am sad, where is my Christmas cheer?
“To soon when grief is with my heart, as it yearns for a yesteryear!
Momma tells me to look to my tomorrow and not for yesteryear,
“I’m fine,” she says, “Now you be fine, no longer should you worry.”
And then I realize no longer are there the colors of red and blue,
softly lighting the darkness of the room, the place that had just held joy.
To find the spell, to hear the voice I sit so quiet,
and I realize why, for that fleeting moment, why a visit came to me.
Where once tonight we opened presents and loved each other,
Momma came on Christmas Eve with gift for me: Her voice, Her Love and My Tomorrow.
This isn’t a fictional poem, you may feel that it is, yet this is how it happened. I must now try to allow my gift to become more of a reality. It is a gift that is the most important that my Mother has ever given me. Her voice has eluded me now for weeks and now I remember how she spoke. I also need to move forward in life as my Mother would have. I can not stop the continual waves of memories I have, nor can I ignore the loss I feel. Momma was someone who could forge foward with an exuberant anticipation of tomorrow. I must attempt to do the same.
A couple of days ago I wrote this poem. It came to me quite suddenly and without difficulty at all. When I read it I know that my heart hasn’t mended as much as it should. I worry that if I don’t settle my feelings now, that later they may cause me problems. I thought I felt a little better the last few day, but still my emotions uncontrollably break out at any time. I have decided that I cannot curtail the grief that I feel. It is inevitable and it will last as long as necessary. I believe I will reach a point where all emotions will coalesce and quiet and become little tags of remembrances on particular days.
I never realized death can cause as much anguish as I have felt and as I continue to feel. It is elusive and enveloping at the same time. It is debilating and foreign. It is something that should have been kept from the living equation. I can’t imagine if I were an animal and I needed to deal with the feeling that is inside. We once had two wonderful dogs. Max the beautiful white German Shephard left first. Moishe, the smaller English Springer Spaniel, although quite sick himself, showed such phyical signs of loneliness that we feared he would get even sicker. His look remained with him until it was his day. I think that was a happy day for him.
And now, with my thoughts playing their will on me, I think I shall continue at another time.
If I let go of all the things I know,
if I toss from my heart what tugs at its’ walls,
if I take the chance to step on to the edge of my soul,
then will I be better or worse than I am.
Will the sun shine again as bright as before,
will I never again feel the anxiety within my mind or,
can I take a hold of all the scarred, ragged edges
and bring them back and sew them together again?
If I bend and pick up the pieces of me
If I reach and hold onto the sweetest of the memories,
If I sit and stare at the nothing I see in the vision of my soul,
then will color be able to return to the space I see with my eyes.
Will sorrow that pierces and gouges the heart,
be changed so that the spring returns to the soul
or will tomorrow only bring another spear
laced with grief that only I can feel its’ sting?