I just heard my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night. It makes me think about the true meaning of Christmas, minus all the commercialization. It also makes me think about my dad. That’s why I marked this blog post as a personal note. It’s very personal. All the beautiful, spiritual Christmas songs remind me of my dad. He was a beautiful, spiritual person who loved Christmas and made me love Christmas.
So why am I writing this blog post? My family and friends wonder why I can’t enjoy Christmas anymore. Maybe this personal note will help them understand. I haven’t been able to enjoy Christmas since my dad died many decades ago. I’m sure many think I should be able to get past that by now and get back to enjoying Christmas. How I wish that were true. You see, my dad was Christmas to me. He taught me the Christmas story, much more than Sunday School or church ever did. He got up with me in the middle of the night to admire the tree he decorated with me. We looked for the star in the sky together. He always smiled and was jolly with me. He taught me to smile and laugh and have fun and, of course, enjoy Christmas.
Then, he died. At Christmas. He was younger than I am now when he passed away. He knew he was going to die even though he had only been ill for six weeks. He had been in the hospital for a few days and when we got back to the family home after he passed away, he had left presents for all of us. They weren’t there when we took him to the hospital only a few days before. Don’t ask me to explain that. We buried him on Christmas Eve when it was 19 degrees below zero and the snow was one and one half foot deep. I’ll never forget when they played Taps, as he was a veteran, and the men who were freezing and who were his friends and were determined to serve as pallbearers anyway.
His brother, my Uncle Billy, was here for the funeral. He came from Detroit and, given the weather, it was not an easy trip. He came for me. He stayed in a local motel and he took me back there after the funeral and got me drunk. He knew what I needed. To get drunk and cry. I wish it had been a permanent solution.
For a few Christmas’s after that, I tried. I really did. My mother was still alive and I tried for her, but I realized that she was not a “Christmas person” and it was not necessary. I quit trying and haven’t since. Every year, I tell myself I’m going to try. I never do.
I acknowledge Christmas in my own way but always very privately. I listen to the spiritual Christmas songs like O Holy Night and I always play piano at Christmas but only those songs. I take a wreath to the cemetery. I celebrate the birth of Christ. I also celebrate and grieve the death of my dad. He was a man who lived life to the fullest. I’m very much like him and have often been criticized for that, probably because I’m female. But, that was another lesson my dad taught me. Not to care what others thought and said and to live my life to the fullest.
Another legacy my dad left that not many people know about is that he was a writer. He didn’t try to make his living as a writer as he had his family to support and that would have been almost impossible then. I have some of his writings that I cherish. I also cherish that he gave me his gift, at least a part of it. He was better than me.
In four more days, my dad will have been gone 33 years. It feels like yesterday, just like it does every Christmas. I will go to the cemetery, play my songs, and remember how he used to sing Ava Maria in an operatic voice. I will hope that Christmas is over soon.
#amblogging #amwriting #writing #Christmas