Christmas Past is filled with cherished memories of when our family was whole. But now our little family is facing a new normal… Christmas Present.
It seems especially cruel that we lost Brooke so close to a holiday she so dearly loved. But Dixie, our Elf on the Shelf, still surprises us every day with her creative new hiding places. The Advent Calendar counts down the days, and Blake gets his daily dose of breakfast chocolate – just as he and Brooke always did. Christmas is coming, whether we want it to our not. And it’s coming without Brooke, as is everything from now on.
So our Christmas Present is to figure out how to keep Brooke with us during this holiday and all holidays. She is and always will be part of our family. For one, we will hang her stocking and I have a feeling that Santa will leave her just a little something to let us all know that he loves children in heaven.
But the tree is tricky, since most of our ornaments are from Christmas Past, made by their little hands to mark the passing of each year and their growing artistry. There are messy hand prints and photos and paintings and pictures. Poems and promises about how I’ll look back on these trinkets with joy one day. But those poems were meant for when she was grown, not gone forever at age 11.
I can’t go there yet. I can’t unwrap the ornaments that we wrapped together as we took down the tree last year… putting them away and saying what we always say… “I wonder what next year will be like for us when we take them out again? ” Never, in my wildest dreams – or nightmares – did I think we’d be doing this as a family of three.
Christmas Present is nothing I ever could have imagined. But somehow we’ll make it through. Somehow we’ll find joy in the fact that Brooke’s spirit is bigger and brighter than any Christmas spirit can ever be. So shine brightly, my sweet, beautiful, angel princess. Shine your light on your family and help us make it through this holiday and the all the days ahead.