On this day, I figure I can give commentary a rest and revel in the spirit of the holiday. This is the first Christmas since my sister passed away this summer and the family is still feeling her absence especially during the holiday. Diane always loved Christmas and she would spend the entire year shopping for gifts for all of us and she was particularly good at finding the perfect gift. She bought several Christmas gifts while she was in Hawaii just before she died and Debbie and our Mother brought them home and wrapped them for her and placed them under the tree. It made it seem like she was still with us.
As I said in an earlier story, Diane was a curious soul and reveled in searching for hidden Christmas gifts as a child. She was also good at getting me into trouble as well as she co-opted me into helping her look. Even during our adolescence, when we were wrapped up in our own lives and not wanting to acknowledge family or each other, we still managed to be on the same page when Christmas came around.
One thing on which Diane and I consistently worked together to ensure happened is the annual tour of lights on Christmas Eve. Mom and Dad started the tradition when we were very young and it became one of our favorite past times. As we all grew older and had our own issues and lives to lead, some of our family members would suggest we forego the tour of lights. “It’s too late, it’s too cold, I’m tired, it’s raining” were some of the excuses offered that threatened to end the tradition. But Diane and I stood firm and insisted that no matter what, the tour would happen. At least it did when I was home. Some years, I was unable to make it home on Christmas Eve, but I assume Diane did her part.
This year, the weather was awful most of the day with torrential downpours the night before and constant rain all day. Everyone came home this year for Christmas to support each other and draw strength from one another to keep the spirit of the holiday alive. Some feeble suggestions arose that maybe we might forgo the tour, but instead we loaded up in two cars and made the trip to the usual places as we discovered that the rain had stopped. I could feel that Diane was with us.
Christmas morning was early as usual, but the pace was slower and the mood only slightly more sedate than usual. We set the gifts out and took turns opening them. When Debbie picked up one of her gifts, mom told her that it was from Diane and that she had bought it in Hawaii. I felt her there then, too.
I know she is with the Lord and she is in heaven and better for it, and while I miss her and wish she was still with us, I also remember that while Christmas is to honor the birth of Christ, the best way to do that is to love one another and remember the bonds of family that continue past our worldly experience.
Merry Christmas To All. Merry Christmas Sister.