Sunday, November 22, 2009
This year, the holidays don't hold as much trepidation for me as they did last year. Our choice to celebrate Christmas away from home last year felt like the wise thing to do since we didn't want to do any comparisons to the picture-perfect Christmas of 2007; Peter's tumor was stable, he was feeling energetic, and he simply devoured all of the Christmas spirit we could throw at him! His absence last year greatly influenced our decision to pack up the car and drive to Florida for a week to celebrate in a way we had never done before, and we made some amazing memories with the Parkinsons and each other that made last Christmas more memorable than I could have ever hoped it would be. This year, we are going to go back to celebrating at home, and next week will mark the beginning of what I'm sure will be a rich and emotional month of celebration leading up to Christmas morning. The trimming of our tree will be the activity which I'm sure will stir some of the fondest and most powerful memories; each of our children has many ornaments associated with them, either because they made them or because we purchased them with that particular child in mind. Hanging Peter's ornaments as well as his stocking will serve to not only honor his memory, but it will also remind us that although we can no longer see him among us, he's very much present in all of our thoughts. Building and decorating our gingerbread house, cutting our paper snowflakes, baking Christmas cookies, and reenacting the Nativity on Christmas Eve will all remind me of the joy Peter had during his last Christmas with us. I'm sure that many more things will remind me of Peter as Christmas approaches, and I think I'm ready for it. What I mean is that I'm prepared to feel the emotion of missing him and allowing tears to flow perhaps a little more frequently than they do at other times during the year. It's okay to miss him, and it's okay to feel sad for a time; when I let those feelings flow, they tend to leave behind feelings of peace and reassurance that life is progressing the way that it needs to and that Peter is where he needs to be right now. I will see him again, and my Savior Jesus Christ, whose coming into the world we will celebrate this Christmas, makes my ultimate reunion with Peter possible.