It’s the month of December again. It’s that time of year that I would rather skip altogether if I had the choice. This week marks the birthday of someone very special and dear to me. It will be the first birthday without her around. It will be the first time that I won’t be calling to wish her a happy birthday and hear her cheerful voice back.
And in less than two weeks it will be my late husband’s birthday, his sixth without him. And on his birthday on December 13 I will bake a cake and the three of us, my kids and I, will light a candle in his memory. We will celebrate his life and the times we spent together and the life we had. We will cry and laugh remembering his jokes as his voice and laughter will echo in our ears and thus continue his legacy. For isn’t this how a legacy is built? One memory at a time?
Then Christmas will come and we will have our traditional family dinner, his empty chair at the table. Afterwards we will either watch a movie or just sit around wondering if the night will soon pass, if it will ever pass. Asking how much longer we can endure it before we can go to our rooms.
Mitch Albom writes:
“You can’t keep things alive. I’m learning that, painfully. No matter how much you love something, or someone, their existence is out of your control. You can weep. You can wail. But you can’t summon them back. All you can do is carry on and remember. So I pull out the furniture and move it around, if only in my mind, which is where so much of this holiday lives. Empty chairs. Missing loved ones. Lord, how their voices once filled the room, as their echoes fill it now.”
Empty chairs. I look around. Every room in the house has a corner that was once his and is now empty. The furniture, everything, is exactly the same as before, except for the emptiness. Sometimes, some tiny little thing, a sound, a song, or a memory, makes me stop short all of a sudden and I feel the strong desire to cry in the middle of whatever it is I am doing. It seems unbearable that everything should be the same as if nothing has changed.
And now more than ever I am less confident and less optimistic than I once was. I do not know with how much or how little courage I can face my future if it comes; old age, lonely days and nights. I know for sure my peace of mind is gone forever, it will never completely return. But I pray that come what may, the love we had and the memory of our life spent together will help me continue.
“Perhaps some day the sun will shine again,
And I shall see that still the skies are blue,
And feel once more I do not live in vain,
Although bereft of you.
Perhaps the golden meadows at my feet
Will make the sunny hours of spring seem gay,
And I shall find the white May-blossoms sweet,
Though you have passed away.
Perhaps the summer woods will shimmer bright,
And crimson roses once again be fair,
And autumn harvest fields a rich delight,
Although you are not there.
But though kind Time may many joys renew,
There is one greatest joy I shall not know
Again, because my heart for loss of you
Was broken, long ago.” (V.B. 1916)