It is very difficult this time of year, the holidays, for many people who have lost loved ones. It really doesn’t matter if they have been gone 1 week, 1 year, or 10 years. There are always memories and times that were spent with the loved one that resurface. My piece today demonstrates one of those times. The piece is about the year Em, my mom, died, and when I unpacked her Christmas stocking. Every memory about Christmas with her flooded back. Which it should have. I don’t ever want to lose those times or memories. I was so sad, and this Christmas when I unpack the stockings, I will feel loss again. But we must look for the hope that the loved has given us.
Em would say the greatest treasure of hope during Christmas was a mantel that could not hold any more stockings. In other words, the family is over flowing with hope! In my case the hope was knowing that it takes another special edition to the family that will help the pain. Not remove the pain, but help it. We have to remember those so close to our hearts, but also grasp for the hope in tomorrow. So keep those momentos (stockings, ornaments, etc.) so you will never forget the love you were given in this life by a very special soul! Keep these to know how blessed you are! But hang the new ones hoping for tomorrow!
The Christmas Stocking
You tell me who I am.
You let me know I am a part of others.
When you hang in your special spot.
I know that I always have a spot.
I know all the ones I love have spots in this world.
When all the excitement around unpacking the stockings happens,
One cannot help but to be elated!
Unwrapping each from its’ tissue and placing it where it belongs.
The hurt comes when the box is opened to find a specific stocking,
A stocking that has the name of the loved one that has passed.
And you know the stocking will be removed.
Tears well up.
You are reminded they had their place.
You miss them so very much.
You hold it close to your cheek.
Because it makes you remember them.
You also feel closer to them when you do.
You realize hanging the stocking among the others
Would sadden others on such a joyous day.
And the loved one has their own stocking in heaven.
You know the one you miss has moved on.
So you also must move on.
You keep the stocking so the memory will not let you forget.
You hold it carefully in your hands.
Folding it in such an honorable way.
You place it back into the Christmas box to be guarded as a family heirloom.
Then you glance across the room.
There lays a new stocking.
This one is added to the collection this year.
A new soul will be added as the family grows.
So tears flow again for the great hope we have been given.
Hope for the new generations to give love.
So anytime I see a stocking.
I don’t think about gifts, candies, or goodies that are inside.
I know this stocking will represent a special soul, somewhere in a special family.
Lori Rennae Hickman Chapman
Hang the stockings, place the ornaments, and tie the garland this year! And remember those we have been allowed to love, and those we will be given to love in the future. Memories are good for the heart, and hope for tomorrow is good for the soul! Merry memories this week! But keep the tissues close!