Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Shadow of Sadness--20 months

"The eighth of every month will always hold a shadow of sadness for Tessa and I."  That's what Emily told me this morning as I tearfully told her that I felt like no one remembered Amy yesterday on the 20 month of her passing.
A shadow of sadness. That has been my last few weeks. 

We celebrated Emily's birthday and Thanksgiving on the evening before the big day as it was the only time we could all be together. It had snowed all day. It was beautiful outside, but my heart was still heavy. Another celebration gathered around the dining room table with no Amy. Bill lightened the mood a little as he thanked God for the sacrifice of the turkey's life so we could eat it. Something very unusual for my hunter husband to acknowledge, especially since I purchased the turkey at the grocery store!
On Thanksgiving day Laura, Emily and I got all the boxes of Christmas decorations out. Right on top were Amy's little boxes of her Tinkerbell ornaments. I couldn't handle anymore than just putting all the boxes on the dining room table and leaving them there. That was hard enough. So I didn't do anything that day except ignore them as best as I could.

Saturday we all gathered again to get a family Christmas card taken. I had this all planned ahead of time. I decided to add a little humor by wearing winter hats, with Bill and I wearing Christmas hats. I'm glad I decided this early, because the day was extremely hard for me to hold it together and even  just smile. I was screaming inside for Amy to be there.  I'll share the picture we decided to use a few days before Christmas.

I finally made myself decorate.  I just felt the need to GET IT DONE. No joy,  just a necessary thing to do this year. So I  just wanted to get it done and be finished.
Amy's last Christmas with us I had purchased a small artificial tree in the after Christmas sales  to use as a Jesse tree with her in the years to come. A Jesse tree is like an advent calender with an ornament pointing to Christ each day of the month. This is something I had done when the children were little and I had missed doing it the last few years. Now what was I to do? Save it in the  special box of decorations that were Amys that I had decided to set aside to use when the grandkids were older? Then I had an idea. I would make a small memorial tree to Amy. I would put her special Tinkerbell ornaments on it and butterflies. 

A olive wood nativity that I brought home to Amy after my trip to Israel in 2001 sits in front of the tree  beside a picture that Amy made for us as a gift a few years ago.

When I had gone shopping with Tessi  I had purchased a few extra boxes of lights in case I decided to put them on the bushes at the back entrance as we have done in years past. A beautiful tree topper angel also caught my eye. We have always had a star on the top of the tree. Always. For thirty-seven years we have had a star on the top of our Christmas tree. But I was in the mood to change things this year. Tessa mentioned I could put a butterfly where the angel was holding a candle. That sold me on it. We now have a beautiful angel on top of our small tree. 
I say small because, owning a Christmas tree farm and selling trees, we always have a wide floor to ceiling tree. Sometimes I could hardly get Amy's wheelchair by the tree and out the door, it was so large!  This year, I just wanted something small. I also discovered I had thrown out the lights for the tree from the years before.  The lights go on first, so.......I had the boxes of lights I just purchased to use outside. Those would be great!

Amy's beautiful  memorial angel.

Our small Christmas tree.

I also used an extra strand of lights to wrap around Amy's picture. Emily gave me a pretty frame with Amy's picture for my birthday and Tessa gave me the lantern she used in her wedding. I just wrapped a strand of lights around this and it sets it apart and is a special area to me. 

So the Christmas season is upon us, the picture is done, the decorating is done and all of my presents are wrapped and boxed up that I have to mail out to family tomorrow.  Although it was hard for me, I see God's hand in every step of the way.  He provided me with a daughter-in-law who is a photographer and a willing family to look goofy for a Christmas card. He provided me with a unused tree to use as a memorial tree for Amy. He impressed upon me to buy extra lights so I could get my decorating done. He knew I didn't have any left to use and this avoided another trip to the store. God's hand is in every step of our lives, if we only look and see it. 

Yesterday I wasn't looking for Him, I was only sorry for myself. I had to go to the hospital for some routine blood work and I only saw death in that place, I didn't try to see the smiles or the Christmas season joy. I was letting the sadness of the day engulf me. My daughter reminded me this morning that it is only a shadow. Just as this life is only a shadow as CS Lewis has said and written about. I forget sometimes and I don't see it and it doesn't fill me with immediate joy, but........
 He is with me.  He is still writing my story. That is enough. 

Tomorrow we will be going to the school where Amy attended to share in their Christmas party. It will be another hard time, but God has a plan in this also. I spent a few hours making 28 sock snowmen for her class. I think Amy would have loved them!

Sock snowmen for Amy's classmates.  

Then we plan on stopping by the cemetery to decorate her grave. 

Praise God  because of Him I know she is not there but dancing with her Lord. 

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