Originally posted at Blogger in December 2011

It’s a week till Christmas Eve. Of late I had been doing fairly well dealing with my emotions, but I know as each day comes to a close and I take one last look at the Christmas tree before unplugging it to go to bed I think of my Mom. As each new day begins and I plug in the tree in the darkness of the morning, I think of my Mom. She influenced my life and some of the decisions I made along this trip and not always was I happy about the influence.

December is a tough month for me to get through. I go through it, with smiles and jokes and laughter, but it is the time I feel my losses more deeply. Last December, it was my Uncle Forest. So many times over the years of his life I thought I would lose him, but he was tough and kept on surviving when I didn’t think he’d see another day. As a younger man who was so full of laughter and always seemed to have so much fun. I know my Aunt Marlene would get aggravated at him.

The last time I saw my Aunt Marlene was Christmas Eve at my Grandma’s in 2004, she passed in the spring. She was my Mom’s older sister. My favorite memory of her involved a conversation of her ability to run. I didn’t think she could run and as we stood out in my yard she showed the little 8-year-old that she could run as she took off across the yard. It made me giggle, but what was supposed to be just my little show was shared unknowingly with the teenage neighbor boy, Mark. We both heard him laughing hysterically at the site of my Auntie running. Aunt Marlene did NOT cut loose like that and I love that memory and that she did it just for me.

I think of my Grandpa Evans and our last Christmas together. It was sad knowing it would be our last one. My Grandpa was so influential in my life, this strong man now a whisper of his former being. The twinkle, glistening of his eyes I loved just a memory.

I remember the first Christmas without my Uncle Lloyd, my Mom’s brother. Mom, Keith and I toasted him with one of his collection of tiny liquor bottles. Man that liquor was horrible, but we had a good laugh at the silliness of the moment. My favorite memory was a trip we all made up north for fishing. He and his lady friend Nancy went out in their own boat, Mom and Dad stayed back at the cabin and Keith and I and the kids took off in our boat. When we got back Mom, Dad, Uncle Lloyd and Nancy had all made a trip to the emergency room to remove the fishing lure Uncle Lloyd had hooked into Nancy’s ear. We all had a good laugh and the large fish he caught that day.

Now this year, the first without my Mom. It’s too soon for a favorite memory.  I miss her joy of Christmas. I miss her sparkles, in her clothes and jewelry and in her smile. I miss the aggravation she could cause me. I hope that by next Christmas I will remember good memories of her to swirl into the memories of these loves and so many more I’ve not mentioned. I hope there will be more laughter than tears, but now I just miss her.

She signed up some time ago on the flower chart at Church for the Christmas Eve Altar Flowers. She had to know she wouldn’t be here for Christmas, but she wanted to have the flowers. She did this every year as soon as the chart went up. So this year my brother Aaron, my cousin Theresa and I will all take her place and have the altar flowers for her and our other loved ones. I couldn’t scratch her name off that chart and let someone else take the date. It was an easy decision, but an emotional one. She always made them in memory of loved ones no longer here, using part of little piece I had written years ago. She loved what I wrote and she was always my best cheerleader when it came to things I did. You could just about ask anyone that met me for the first time that had known Mom. They would each say at meeting me, “I’ve heard so much about you.” I told a few of them, “I bet my name became a tiresome to hear all the time!”

It didn’t matter what anyone else thought about the quality of what I did. It didn’t matter what my brother Aaron did. It didn’t matter what my Dad did. Mom loved us, she knew whatever it was we did we were awesome at it and she loved to brag about each of us, and sometimes, in aggravation to us, she’d volunteer us for things she just knew we’d be good at and then tell us about it later.

So this year along with that long list of others I miss, Mom is added. The tears have fallen and wet my cheeks this morning. I know they are not the last of my tears, but hopefully soon they will be replaced with more laughter at the good memories we’ve shared and less grief. She is at peace and I have a little ways farther to go on this journey. I’d like it to be filled with a light heart and the joy of living each day the best and happiest that I can.

I’ve posted “Light a Candle” before but Mom loved it and used it for her Christmas flowers memorial, so here it is again.

Light a candle this Christmas Eve,

before you lay to rest,

in remembrance of the family,

who have shared our Christmas past.

In the flicker of the flame,

embrace the memory of our

Christmas come and gone.

Let the whispers of the fire’s dance

keep them ever in its light,

till once again we share our

Christmas in Heaven’s Candlelight.

I love you Mom. Happy Christmas.

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About jlturtlerunner

12 plus Years Surviving Stage IV Oral Cancer. I have become a "Turtle" runner since that diagnosis, as a way of saying, "Take That Sucker!" After 12 years of being a Turtle Runner, I'm adding a new title, Turtle Rucker!

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