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December 25, 2008

Christmas Memories




Thanks to Cornflower, I just discovered the following from Sir Roy Strong's A Country Life: At Home in the English Countryside. As Karen states, this resonates with so many of us during this Christmas season.


“Christmas is Janus-faced. One side is joy, the other grief. It opens gates of memory firmly locked into a corner of the mind for the rest of the year. But when the festive season beckons those gates open and the past comes back to take us in its embrace. Christmas is always as much about those not there as about those present. The card no longer received because the sender is no more, the telephone which does not ring this year to remind us of a friendship around the globe, the person who is not at the table, the visit which is no longer made.

“But then the sadness fades, for that gate lets in not only tears of grief but those of joy, and thankfulness, too. Memory’s sacred role is to hold in the mind all those whom one has loved. At Christmas they come tumbling back in a season when recollection pulls strongly on the emotions. How often over these days leading into the New Year does the conversation harken back to times past, to people and events long since gone.....

“Always the twelve days of Christmas take on the character of a garland of friendship through time, for not only those of yesterday are recalled, but those of today rekindled. We are reminded of their centrality in any life. Age and bad times make them a bedrock, giving us strength to go forward into whatever the new year will bring.”

Thinking of those of you who have recently lost a loved one.

16 comments:

  1. Warmest holiday wishes for you and your family, Les. May your day be filled with warm memories and much love.

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  2. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Les!

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  3. And I hope your day was peaceful, dear friend. We remembered and had a better day than we imagined (a quote from my mom today). Thinking of you as well.

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  4. Such a beautiful passage. Thank-you for sharing, Les. And thank-you for sharing this part of your life with us as well as your thoughts about the books you read. I hope your day had many gates that opened into joy, thankfulness and good memories.

    I have this book on my list, but now I want to read it right now!

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  5. Oh wow, how true this is...I hope it brought you comfort, I know it did to me :)

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  6. What a gorgeous passage and oh so true. I really found myself thinking of those who've gone on in my family this Christmas season. God bless you and your family. :)

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  7. Thank you all for your lovely comments. We spent the day with our very best friends and had a lovely time. Yesterday (26th) was glorious. The sun was out and we topped off at 61 degrees (F)!!!! All the snow is gone, but more importantly, the ice on our driveway and sidewalks has all melted!

    Kay - I was thinking of you this week and especially on the 25th. I'm glad your day was better than imagined. Sometimes I think the anticipation of the day (or an anniversary date) is more painful than the actual day.

    Booklogged - Thank you for your kind words. I have the book on my list, too. Need to buy it!!

    Tammy - I was thinking about you this past week, too. I hope you had a good Christmas. And I just have to say that I love your profile "picture." I got a tee-shirt from my hubby with the exact same image! Love it!

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  8. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this Les. We lost one of my cousins this past year, and I was thinking specifically of his father when I was reading this.

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  9. Andi - You're welcome. I know when I posted it, I was thinking of my own loss, but then I started to think of everyone I know who has lost someone, especially those who lost someone on or right around Christmas day. We met a couple in our support group whose daughter died on Christmas Day a few years ago. :(

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  10. Andi - I clicked before I was finished. I wanted to tell you I'm sorry about your cousin. I remembered about your former student, but don't think I knew about your cousin. I'm so sorry.

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  11. Anonymous7:48 AM

    Haven't checked in Les, but hope you had a nice Christmas. I so agree that the holidays are lovely but bittersweet as well.

    I love the ornament you have for Rachel. I would love to buy one's for two of my friends that have lost a child. Did you order it from someplace special? Or make it yourself?

    Many hopes of a good new year, Les.

    Love;
    Gayla

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  12. Gayla - Hi!! I've been thinking about you and keep meaning to send you an email to let you know how much I enjoyed Garden Spells. Thanks again for sending it!

    As far as the ornament, it was given to me and Rod by his ex-wife (Rachel's mom). Very thoughtful of her. I think she got it at a store called Things Remembered. Actually, I'm quite sure she did because I was going to get one for Amy, but they no longer make that style. I'll bet you could search online for something similar, though.

    Thanks for stopping in, Gayla. Hope all is well with you.

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  13. This is so true...

    We went to Mexico this year for Christmas and I was a bit apprehensive about it as it would have been the first Christmas with my whole family (like we used to celebrate) without my dad there. Lots of fun but a tear here and there too.

    Thank you for sharing this and hugs to you this Holiday season!

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  14. I don't agree that the "sadness fades" except in maybe cases of older relatives. We can get over our grandparents passing, and mostly even our parents, but not a child. Not ever. It alters the universe. It is wrong, so wrong.

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  15. Lesley, I hope your Christmas was a good one. I was reading some of your posts on your loss of Rachel and I'm so sorry. It is very hard to get through holidays when you miss your loved ones so much. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  16. Iliana - I'm glad you were able to have some fun, but understand the weepy moments, too. Here's to many, many happy memories of our loved ones.

    Nan - How right you are. I don't think the sadness fades. If anything, it's magnified during the holidays. I can only hope that as the years pass, it doesn't hurt quite so much.

    Dar - Thank you for your thoughtful comment. We miss Rachel each and every day, but the holidays are truly the most difficult.

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