I decided to haul out the Christmas decorations this week because I want to return from our Thanksgiving trip to an already decorated house. I wasn’t expecting the job to be as memory-filled as it has been. And you know what happens with memories – tears. The kind of tears that begin as heart-warming and happy and then somehow morph into tears of sadness. I’m glad I got started early this year. Hopefully I will have worked through all of the heart stuff before Christmas rolls around.
My husband and I were married in December, so it isn’t just Christmas that tugs at my heart this year. It’s how one of the happiest days of my life ties in with December and Christmas and how the happiest memories create the greatest longing. December always seemed like the perfect time of year for a wedding to me. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. There’s so much love and excitement in the air during the Christmas season. This, and do you know how much money you can save on wedding decorations if you wait for the church and reception venue to put up their Christmas decorations?? Bonus! We literally only bought a few poinsettias for our decorations. But don’t worry, I ate up the “budget” elsewhere.
Because we married in December, we have a lot of Christmas decorations that remind me of our wedding day. Our “guest book” was actually squares of fabric signed by our guests that my Mom later sewed into a tree skirt for us. The tree skirt has photos from our wedding day combined with loving notes written by our guests and wedding party. It’s beautiful. We loved putting that tree skirt out each year and reminiscing about our wedding day and how lucky we felt to have found each other and to be loved by so many. It doesn’t feel so awesome pulling that tree skirt out this year. I mean, the memories from our special day bring me joy, but with that joy comes really heavy sadness.
I miss him so much.
Our first Christmas ornaments, the bride and groom snowman ornaments, and the wooden Christmas tree wall hanging he made me when he was physically able to enjoy woodworking. Then there’s the nativity set we found while honeymooning in the Rocky Mountains. He gave me a new piece for the set each year on our anniversary. Ugh – so many love-filled memories to remind me of all we had and all I lost.
I’m so grateful he was my husband. I’m so blessed to have had so much love in our marriage. I appreciate all of these memories, even though they sting. I’d give anything to have been his wife for more than eleven and a half years. It wasn’t long enough. We packed a lifetime of love into those years though, and I’ll always be thankful for that gift.
I’m determined to enjoy Christmas this year and I believe I will. Bear with me as I get all of the emotions out on the front side of the holidays.
Focus on the joy, the gift and the love. Focus on the birth of our Savior. Remember that because of that Savior, I will be with my husband again one day. Be grateful. Hashtag widow goals Christmas edition.