NOTE: I started this post during the holidays this year but never published...so here it is.
I find myself a little more sentimental this year than last...it's interesting. Interesting because I keep thinking that it'll get better, that the tears won't be so close and the longing won't be so deep but it doesn't...get better. I had a very dear friend tell me it doesn't get better, it gets different...not better ` we get stronger but it's never better... just different. She's right! I do find that I'm stronger (most days) but that feeling never goes away...never gets better. As the days pass, it just feels different.
The last few weeks, I find myself remembering. Remembering holidays past and it makes me smile and it makes me cry but mostly for that moment the longing seems to ease if only for a moment. I hear an old Christmas tune and I remember Christmases spent at Fincastle in the parsonage. The smell of the real Christmas tree and the oil heat. I can hear my Dad popping popcorn in the metal pot that he had to shake back and forth over the eye of the electric stove. I can see my mom in her spot on the floor - blanket thrown over the vent to catch the heat as it blows and inflates her blanket (that was a coveted spot, by the way. I remember Christmas programs in the sanctuary at Fincastle. At the end, Santa would come down the center aisle and all the kids would go home with brown bags full of fruit and candies. I remember big coats, snowy nights and dinners at my grandparents. Nanny Ross' homemade chocolate pies and the coleslaw and ham and Nanny Bruce's. I remember the coal burning stove that heated Papaw and Nanny Ross' house and the buckstove at Papaw and Nanny Bruce's house.
I look back fondly at the holidays I spent with wonderful friends who were more like family while I was at Lee College (University) and at Disney and couldn't get home for the holidays or had to go a little later due to work. Those are still special times and bring a smile when I recall them.
There are so many memories and they are so vivid that most of the time I can smell all those smells. Occasionally, I'll get a whiff of a scent and I'm suddenly 7 years old all wide-eyed with Christmas wonder. It's not that I miss being 7 years old really but I miss that time. A time before smart phones, personal computers and cable TV. It really was a kinder, simpler, "gentler" time. I miss the faces that sat around the table and those smells and that feeling of excitement. Most of all, I miss my Dad. I know that for the last 3 years, Dad has had a seat at the best banquet and he is surrounded by those faces that I miss. He is happier than he could ever be here in this world...but I miss him. I will miss him for as long as I'm in this earthly vessel but I know where he is and that he is happy and well and safe and I find comfort in knowing this truth.