Today, I took down my Christmas tree. It’s February 16th, but I felt like I missed Christmas. December went by and I missed it because I was numb. It was just a shitty month. What happened to Christmas?
My husband and I own a chocolate shop (Cocoashak) and December is our busiest month. The Christmas rush starts the day after Thanksgiving and rolls right through to Christmas Eve. Non-stop all month. And if I wasn’t there, then I was at my other job, which is in a call center. There was no time for shopping or wrapping or enjoying. On Christmas Day, I got up and went to work at the call center. No traditional Christmas breakfast. No gift unwrapping. No visiting my in-laws for Christmas dinner. I missed it all.
And among all the chaos that is December, my brother died on the 11th. He went into the hospital during a snowstorm on the 9th and he died two days later. We held his memorial service on January 15th, just as another snow storm ended that morning. Jon hated the cold.
No matter how you look at it, Christmas just wasn’t Christmas for me this year. So I kept the tree up. Maybe I was hoping to somehow capture the feeling of Christmas each night when the timer lit the lights. Growing up we used to get the Ideals Magazine which had stories and poems representing the “ideal” Christmas. I would look at it for hours. I loved the pictures of horse-drawn sleighs taking people to houses that were beautifully blanketed by snow, with gorgeous Christmas trees and happy people and children playing in the snow or curled up by the fire waiting for Santa.
So each night, my beautiful, bent, pink Christmas tree would light up from its timer. And each night, I would appreciate that sight. There was something Seussian about the curve in the tree, perhaps a tree that I might find in Whoville? It was pink and fun and made me smile. And I needed it for a while.
But taking it down this weekend felt right. All the “missed” feelings of Christmas, all the memories of growing up with my brother, all of it was ok now. I will miss Jon and his laugh and I will think of him sometimes and cry, but today I am ok. Today, I can take down my Christmas tree.
Here is a follow-up post on spreading my brother’s ashes when the weather got warm. Launching My Brother’s Ashes.