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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

The First? Well…there are no words for it. Horrible?  Yes. Heart-breaking? Yes. And so much more.

The Second? Numb. Going through the motions. Quiet. Horrible. Heart-breaking. Yes…and more.

The Third started out to be the same as The Second…but something softly turned.

In fact, I can’t believe how well I’ve done…holding myself together…keeping busy.

I completed my gift buying…for whatever that is worth.

I decorated the house with lights, with wreaths, with bells, with cinnamon stick -apple pie-pine needle scented candles, with an 8-foot snowman in the front yard…but the best thing…the very best thing…

Stands tall in the living room...twinkling red and blue…gold and green.

We bought that artificial tree 28 years ago (yes, this is a packrat speaking), and Rick and I grew more and more in love with it as it filled up with ornaments that honored our faith, reminded us of places we traveled to, and most of all...

The priceless treasures made by two little girls ever since their tiny hands could cut construction-paper.  Slathered with glue, tangled in ribbons, outlining tiny fingers, drenched with glitter…every single ornament they made…

Every one.

I can see Rick sitting in the floor, unwrapping each precious work of art…handing them to me as I decided their placement on the one-tree forest in our living room. He did it every year…his big hands carefully peeling away the tissue paper that protected each treasure…laughing at some…tearing up at others. And I would chuckle at how soft-hearted he was…how easily that big, strong man could be touched. And I remember feeling so grateful, so happy.

All the memories…all the memories.

So what changed? What was it that softly turned on this…The Third.

It was my heart…

When I looked into the eyes of a 4-year old little boy who has the same eyes as my daughter, his mother…sparkling like the lights on that tall, twinkling, treasure-loaded one-tree forest in our living room. A little boy who is BESIDE HIMSELF with excitement…bursting into a hearty round of ‘Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!” at least 5 times a day.

That old tree, dragged out each year by a packrat, now holds even more priceless treasures.

Works of art made by tiny hands that can now cut construction-paper, slather in glue, tangle with ribbon, outline tiny fingers, drench with glitter…every single ornament he makes…every one.

And I know…that somehow I will go on.

Because he has more treasures to make, my little Peanut.

And I have to sit in the floor…in the same spot as the man I will love until the day I die.

And I will carefully peel away the tissue paper and reveal the years of that child’s life…and those of his brothers or sisters or cousins to come.

And I will place them alongside those of his mother and his aunt...and his Pappy and mine.

And I will laugh at some…and tear up at others.

And I will go on…for him…for his mother…for his aunt…for his Pappy whose spirit hovers around him …whose love extends to him from Paradise.

And for me…and all the sweet memories I can make for him, my grandson.


There is no word for The First.

But describing it does not matter…even if it were possible.

What matters is that It will come…and then it will be gone.

And there is no telling about The Second.

But don’t give it a thought…you have enough to deal with right now.

It will reveal itself…and then it will be gone too.

Another ghost.


Then a day will come when you will find your reasons to go on…as those you love would want for you.


My friends, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you. May He lift up His countenance to you…and give you Peace.


Merry Christmas.

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Comment by only1sue on January 8, 2016 at 12:57am

Some wonderful thoughts here.  Yes, I too am living my life to show love and care for the next generation, giving them my  time when they need it. Had two weeks up where my son lives and Christmas Day with him and Alice aged three and a half.  Better with them than alone at home for sure. The third year does make it seem as if the world will eventually make sense again.

Comment by Callie2 on December 25, 2015 at 5:36pm
Beautiful sentiments, Cindy, thanks for sharing! Hoping your Christmas was blessed with the company of family and friends. Wishing you good health and happiness in 2016!

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