Sunday, November 20, 2016

I'm Here In The Moment, But For A Brief Minute Or Two, I'm Not

Despite what you've put in the past, buried, or the amount of chapters you close, there are some things you simply can't. The death of someone you love is one. Grief is something that doesn't go away. Ever. It doesn't matter if it was a human or fur-kid. You never forget them. During certain times of the year, those heartstrings are tugged a little more. For me, it's when we put up our Christmas tree.

Many years ago, I used to decorate for Christmas a day or two after Halloween. Indoor. Outdoor. The Christmas tree. Everything. I attributed this as my way of rebelling towards my childhood. Back then, my parents, along with my brother and I, put the Christmas tree up and decorated the day of my birthday. December 8th. Everything was taken down the day after Christmas. I always felt there wasn't enough time to enjoy the tree and decorations.

In my very early 30's, my partner (at the time) and I had a wonderful fur-baby. She was diagnosed as terminally ill. It all happened so fast.

That year, we put the Christmas tree up and decorated the weekend after Halloween. Normally, I would have Christmas music blaring. I'd sing and dance and be in full-swing-Christmas-spirit. Instead, I sat on the sofa. A steady flow of tears down my face. It took every ounce of effort to rummage through the Christmas ornaments for the tree.

There was no music. No singing. I didn't break out in a silly dance. That year, I wanted nothing to do with the Christmas season.

The only thing running through my head was, "My baby isn't going to make it to Christmas."

She wasn't going to be there to get her gifts and stocking stuffers that she loved so much.

She wasn't going to be there to get her plate of Christmas dinner.

What broke my heart the most is that I had no idea that the previous Christmas was her last one with us.

Since then, whenever I put up a Christmas tree, I think about that year. That moment.

It changed me.

Over the weekend, we put up our Christmas tree. While Lisa set up the tree atop our antique Singer Sewing Machine table, the kids and I sat on the sofa. I rummaged through our ornaments. The ones I made this year were already on my lap and ready to hang first on the tree.

This was about the time I had that moment.

I watched Lisa take the tree out of the box. I watched Coco, Sophie, and Lobo as they observed Lisa putting the tree up. I listened to Olivia's piggy noises in the home office. I could hear her munching on her Timothy hay, cucumber, and lettuce.

Lisa put the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on my desk beside Olivia's habitat so she'd have a tree to admire as well.

I thought, "What if this is the last Christmas with...."

I always take a slow breath in and exhale even slower.

My eyes fill with tears.

I'm here, in the moment, but for a brief minute or two, I'm not.

I've learned not to fight those brief moments. They're necessary. It's my reminder. My perspective.

What if...

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