Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Welcome December!

December has finally arrived. Some of us found ourselves pulling out the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving (against our usual habits) for various reasons (none of them wrong), including me. 

Last year Christmas came on the absolute heels of Beloved's passing and I could not stand the celebrating spirit. I mean, I really couldn't. It was a very unfamiliar feeling I had, a combination of desperate sadness and anger. I felt a little like Karen Carpenter who sang, 

Why does the sun go on shining?

Why does the sea rush to shore?

Don't they know it's the end of the world?

It ended when I lost your love.

When I tried to listen to Christmas music, it made me so angry. I could not handle the joy of the season and would quickly turn it all off.

I've already said in an earlier post a week or so ago that even now I can't unpack my Christmas tree ornaments. Too many memories are tucked between the layers of tissue paper. Happy memories, to be sure, but also a reminder of a time of my life that is forever gone.

I wondered how it would be this year, now that the anniversary of his passing has come and gone. I really didn't know what to expect, and of course, with this being just December 1st, a lot remains to be seen.

Happily, I am glad to report it's better (thus far) than I thought. The fact that all my children were coming to my house for Thanksgiving sort of jump-started me into wanting to at least put on the appearance of happiness if for no other reason than to keep the visit from being a cry-fest.

I found the box with the small ceramic Christmas tree, which was the only tree I wanted last year. Two weeks ago I put it in the guest room where T2 and the Lil' Red-Haired girl slept during the Thanksgiving visit. 

Oh by the way, this is how I display the snapshots and school pictures of my family. It's a fish net with the photos clothes pinned to the net. It used to be draped on the upstairs bannister but earlier this year I hung it all on a wall in the guest room. Displayed this way, it's easy to change out the pictures as the little people get older.

Yes, that's a lot of eyes starring at my guests as they sleep! When Terri D came to spend two nights with me a few months ago, she said each morning she just extended  her arms heavenward and prayed over everybody! I loved that! 

Most of you already know that Terri and I are like 'grieving sisters' because her dear Joe passed from COVID just 3 months after my Beloved. Both of us were caught by surprise when our husbands died. We often share from our journeys with each other. You can check out her blog here: Your Friend From Florida

So with the kids in mind, I began pulling out Christmas decor, just a little, and more so after the Thanksgiving dishes were put away.

I'm still not going all out, keeping in mind that whatever I put out I get to put away when Christmas is over. This is pretty much a one-gal show now with time and energy in short supply some days.

The snow people collection did 'make the cut', so to speak. I mean, who can deny all those smiling faces? 

While it's true that Beloved gave me some of the snow people as gifts over the years, unpacking them was akin to welcoming friends who have not been with me for a long time. They stayed in the box last year.

Without snow here in Florida, these friends remind me of the Homeland (Colorado), which is a  happy-sad mix. But I don't miss dealing with the cold and the snow after it turns brown from the sand trucks. 

One of the many things I've not even searched for is the red and green plaid wooly table cloth that Beloved liked so much. It's in one of the boxes but I don't think I can face it this year. 

And his Santa doll; the other day I came across him wrapped and packed in a pillow case. I did not take him out. Last year I had to break it to him the sad news while crying big elephant tears on his red velvet suit. Beloved had that Santa doll since he was a very little boy. Every year after we had the big tree all decorated, he would make a big deal out of placing Santa under the tree. It was cute. 

Nope. Not ready to face Santa this year. Maybe next year.

Before Thanksgiving, I let my kids know I was ready to let go of Beloved's extensive collection of paperback science fiction books. The boys took them all, much to my relief, and that left me with a lot of empty shelves. So that necessitated the unpacking of a few more Christmas-themed knick knacks.

While poking around in my pie safe, I was reminded these special plates needed to be put out. That was easy enough to do.

A cross stitch pillow made earlier last year showed up. I have not returned to cross stitching yet, having put it aside when the brain fog of grief made it impossible for me to count my stitches. There's more where this piece came from, but again, I'm not digging into the Christmas boxes any more than I really need to. Not this year.

As for the real meaning of Christmas, yes, I am thinking about that. It occurred to me recently that even if I'm not 100 per cent into the celebration spirit, I should because without Christmas and Easter, I would have no hope of seeing my Beloved again! THAT THOUGHT was like jump-starting me into a better attitude. I am so grateful for this season to reflect on the significance of the birth of Christ. 

Yes, I have a Christmas tree. I bought this table-top model from Hobby Lobby late in the summer. I gave our big tree to Surfer Girl's family because I've wanted to downsize on that for years but Beloved was still very attached to the big tree idea. Now that he's not here, there are a few changes I've made to please myself.

I added the lights and the JOY sign and it's done! When not in use, I tuck a large plastic bag over the entire tree and place it in a closet. SO EASY!!! Now I like that idea!!

The Christmas spirit is gradually taking over within me and it feels good. I want to be happy. I really do. Happiness is a choice (much of the time, anyway). 

I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, or maybe better phrased, the star atop the tree. Whichever, the Lord is healing my broken heart. Yes, there is a scar there from the grief, but "a peace that passes all understanding" is slipping in and I welcome it.

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

Until next time, grace and peace.


  1. Barbara, please forgive me for missing some of your recent blogs as I've been on a marvelous vacation to visit with the grands over Thanksgiving. I'm back now, so will be a regular visitor here once again.
    Absolutely love your Christmas decorations, my friend! Going simpler is truly a good idea with all that you've been going through. The holidays without a loved one are always difficult as I can attest through personal experience in the past. Just getting any decorations out is a sign of progress and growth. May God grant you the peace to celebrate this season of joy.

  2. Love all of your Christmas decor. Of course my eye made contact immediately with that cute red truck picture. I also love the Christmas movie sign! Of course my Word 2021 has been JOY and I love your Joy sign. The Lord gave me Neh. 8:10...the joy of the Lord is my strength, with a reminder that true joy can only come from Him. I hope that you enjoy your holidays as best as you can and make the Merriest New Memories with loved ones and friends. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  3. What beautiful decorations you have put out! I love the pot with red and greenery along with the lantern on your porch. What a great way to display your pictures clipping them to the fish net. The small tree is a beauty. Thinking of you!

  4. I am so glad you offered the books to the boys and that they accepted. That in itself is a warm feeling for you and THEM. I think you will find your way over time with the decorations. Beloved’s Santa never be able to come out with you but one of those grands in time will want it and treasure it. Don’t be hard on yourself. Bring out only what can bring you joy. The memories don’t mind being tucked in boxes for safekeeping for now.

  5. Oh Barbara, I know Christmas time must be very mixed in the theatre of your mind and heart. I just love the precious little dog with the big red bow...Awww... so koot. (cute) as we say!

    I think the little dog statuette is very fitting of your feelings, I feel so, so sorry. Praying for you, everything looks very nice Barbara.

    (((hugs))) ~Amelia

  6. I don't think I've made an appearance online anywhere for over a month now, - due to the busyness of packing, moving, and now unpacking. This post is lovely to look at, but your words also spur me to do at least a little Christmas decorating even as I am unpacking and figuring out a new place. I wish you a Merry Christmas, Barbara - both in experiencing a heart lightened by celebrating our Savior's birth, and also in the deep abiding peace and joy of our Savior's love for us that He would leave the comfort of Heaven, fully and physically entering into our human experience. He knows every tender place in your heart; may you sense His gentle hands as they cradle you.

  7. Barb, following you through this journey has helped my healing process and I thank you for that, dear friend! I love your decorations and your table-top tree is perfect. Mine is a bit smaller but still perfect for me, too. Joe didn't participate much in decorating inside. He always did the outside of the house. Since moving, we just didn't do much outside so, other than him saying the tree looks good, not much has changed as far as decorations go. I do miss him. Life was sure more fun with him here but it does get a bit easier. Yes to the scars and yes to occasional tears, but it is better. Our guys would certainly not want us to be moping around. I know Joe would want me to be happy. I keep that in front of me as much as possible. God is good. Love you (and I still pray for you and your family)! xo

  8. I love this post and how God is taking you so tenderly by the hand and leading you through each of the holidays and seasons during this season of grief. I hear a lilt of joy and a little bit of laughter coming back into your voice and that is a beautiful thing to hear. We know there will still be "moments", but it is perfectly okay that your "moments" are not as often as before. God is healing you day by day, week by week. Thank you for being so transparent and open and sharing this with us. It helps us to know how to pray for you as well as what this kind of grief really feels like. Thank you for being you. You are loved.

  9. There's lots of wisdom in this post. I especially like what you said about finding joy in the season because of what it means to us, and to you as far as seeing Beloved again in heaven. And that's a good reminder to all of us, and a reminder to remember what part of Christmas should really bring us joy. Not the decorations, gifts, music... but the real reason!

  10. Your house is looking lovely, Barbara--a warm and welcoming sight for sure. I'm sure this is a hard season for you, but I was so happy to see how well you got through Thanksgiving surrounded by your lovely family. I tried to comment on that post, but it wouldn't let me. I loved seeing all the photos of you--especially loved the one with you and the horse! You look like you're about 40! Ha ha :)

    Wishing you all the best as we travel through December. Tom is there watching over you and wanting you to smile and enjoy this beautiful season. Take good care now ♥

  11. Oh, I like that a lot better...the star atop the tree. May God continue to light your life with joy and happy times. That fish net picture idea is fun. Simple can be just right some years. When my sister-in-law died in December years ago and I packed up our kids and drove to Southern California for the funeral it took everything out of me and when I drove back to Washington with our kids I had no energy for Christmas. The boys went down the slope behind our house found a tree and then Katie decorated it as much as she could. The decorations went halfway up the tree and that was all.
    Looking forward to hearing more as God binds up your wounds.

  12. I'm so happy that you have come this far in your journey of grief and while you will never get over Beloved's death, you are getting through it and I pray it will just get easier in the days ahead. Everything looks so nice, warm and inviting. I've scaled back so much that there's no real work anymore. The tree takes a little bit of time to take down but I love our tree and don't really mind the time it takes. Blessings galore my friend!