This time of year brings joy and melancholy, too. I am filled with memories of people no longer here, grateful that they were, sad at their absence. I cherish the times I get to spend with those I love even as I miss the far-aways, geographical and emotional. As the carols wash over every location, I recall singing most of them in choirs, yet their endless repetition pushes me into annoyance before the season is half over.
It’s hard to prevent the hope for a “good Christmas” from becoming a race to check off the lists of gifts, activities, traditions not to be forgotten. The older I get, the less able I am to reach all those goals, thereby saving myself from the harried days of previous years. Yet that realization is edged with the knowledge that many of those tasks no longer must be done, thanks to the shortening list of family and friends who were here to appreciate them. But to let that sorrow define the changes defeats the purpose of the season.
To all of you in my life I say thank you, I love you, may the year ahead bring you joy. To the ghosts who visit me I say, bless you for having been in my life, for teaching me how to live, for memories-good and bad–that made me who I am.
May we all rest our heads on soft pillows and dream of the things we love.