Friday, December 26, 2008

One Hundred Luminarios

No matter how long I live, I doubt that I will experience a Christmas Eve filled with the same magic as we experienced this week. Chip and I left the beach house late in the afternoon to achieve two goals: 1) secure a bonfire permit, and 2) pick up all of the necessities both of our families requested for an evening on the beach. We returned heavily laden with firewood, marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers, and the rest of our holiday party had been wonderfully busy prepping the beach for our special evening. Tina then brought out two separate packs of lunch-sized paper bags, one of white bags and the other of traditional brown bags. Chip, Adrienne, Tina, Nathan and I spent the next half hour putting three scoops of sand into each bag, folding down the tops about an inch or two and placing them up and down the stairs that lead from our beach house down to the sand. We placed a tiny tea light candle in each and prepared for dark to create a spectacle none of us could wait to see. After Chip and Fanone treated us to their favorite Christmas Eve dinner, we stepped out into the breezy, misty evening to light our luminarios. It took a little patience and some ingenuity on the part of our resident pyros, but we finally lit all one hundred lights and stepped back to see the mystical path we'd created from our home-away-from-home down to the edge of the thundering surf of the Gulf of Mexico. Spencer set our beach bonfire ablaze, and we spent the next two hours singing Christmas carols, roasting marshmallows, making s'mores and sharing Christmas memories. The mist coming in from the gulf obscured everything beyond a few hundred yards in every direction, and since we have been some of the beach's only residents this week, we could see almost no other lights along the beach except for our one hundred luminarios and our campfire.

The beauty of Christmas Eve and our efforts to make it memorable were tinged with the sadness I still feel in my heart. Peter would have loved this, and as I sat on the steps overlooking the flickering candles and the waves crashing on the shore, I felt overwhelmed by grief for a few brief moments. Letting Peter go this Christmas has been difficult, but we are now past that difficult milestone preparing ourselves now for a handful of challenging anniversaries. Peter's birthday is one month from Sunday followed closely by the anniversary of his baptism and five weeks later by the date of his passing. I don't know how time is passing so quickly, but it is. God is helping our family make it through each new challenge on our road to healing, and even though the tears I shed on Christmas Eve felt hot and bitter, I know that that they are part of the growing, changing process I need to experience in order for me to move on. On Christmas Eve, we lit our luminarios out of hope and joy, not as a token of grief, and hope will continue to carry us through all of the sudden upheavals of emotion that lie in our path as life goes on.


mamapickle said...

Sounds so beautiful! Can't wait to see pictures of it all when you get back. Have a great rest of vacation.

di - said...

Barr Bunch,

We continue to hold you in our thoughts, hearts and prayers.

Your beach tribute probably had Peter dragging everyone in Heaven over to peek thru the mist, saying - "There they are, that's MY family!"

Peace be with you as you continue to successfully navigate all of the "firsts".

JJ's mom

cyndi/mom/nana said...

Dear Barr Family
What an awesome Christmas Eve. A great tribute to Peter and the best way to spend remembering him. I'm still so sorry for your loss and I agree with Di that Peter must have been the proudest little guy showing everyone his families Christmas Eve. How great must have been his joy to see you all. Let his light so shine cyber hugs ((((HUGS)))) from us all. love the Duenas' family in Corpus.

Patty said...

Truly magical! Love reading your new blog.