December 23, 2011

Reposting - Christmas Memories

Reposting from Christmas 2008...

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.


  1. Just lovely, Les. Thinking of you guys always at special holiday times. Hugs.

  2. This is a sad Christmas for us. My dad passed away last year during the holidays and he is heavy in our hearts and minds this year. Great post!

  3. Lesley, Haven't talked to you in so long but I wanted to wish you a happy holiday season. It's a mixed-feeling holiday for me, too. Enjoy your time with your granddaughter!

    Lisa :-)

  4. Those are lovely sentiments. I'm sorry your holiday is tinged with sadness, but I hope there are also many happy memories, too, and that you will make more happy memories this holiday! Best wishes.

  5. How true it is that Christmas brings emotions up to the surface, quite possibly with the memories it evokes.

    My son unexpectedly brought me lunch this week, while I was reading the book Carl's Christmas to my class. It shows a wee infant, a boy my son's age when I bought it, and inside is an inscription to him. "With Love, Mother and Father 1991".

    His eyes, my 21 year old son, filled with tears when he saw it. He took the book with him when he left.

    To lose his father at six is something I can never heal. It will always cause him pain on some level. There is joy, to be sure, things to be grateful for such as the step-father he has. Or my consistent love. But, it doesn't fill the void, and I don't expect it to.

    I think we all have a void in our hearts. It is made deeper and wider when we lose someone we love. We have the memories, a treasured thing, but the hole remains. God willing, He will fix it someday.

    Blessings on you, Lesley, as we mourn our loved ones.

  6. Lesley, A big hug to you. I missed my loved ones who have passed, but cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. Hope you can find some joy in this holiday season.

  7. Thinking of you and Rod today...

  8. What words. Really wonderful.
    Our friends, whom you know about, do not spend Christmas at home, and probably never will again.

  9. Kay - Thank you, so much. Hugs back.

    Kathy - I'm so sorry about your dad. I know how difficult the holidays and birthdays can be when you've lost a loved one. I hope you were able to feel some peace this past week.

    Lisa - So, so nice to see your comment here! It has been a long time, hasn't it?! Thank you for your very kind words. I'm off to pay your blog a visit.

    Danielle - Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately, I came down with the stomach flu on Christmas, so all in all it was not a very good day. But we had such lovely weather today (55!!), my spirits are lifted once again.

    Bellezza - Your beautiful comment touched me deeply. You and I share so much and your words resonated with this mother of a child who lost her only sister. No. We can never heal that pain for them, can we? But we can love them with all our might and hope that it helps.

    Love to you, Meredith.

    Diane - Thank you so much for your kind comment. I appreciate it so very much.

    Staci - Thank you, dear friend.

    Nan - I now read those words every year. I understand why your friends do not wish to be home on Christmas. As you recall, we tried to leave a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for us. Maybe it will work out another time. I know how much better it is for us to be gone over Memorial Day Weekend...

  10. A beautiful passage and so true. Reading it and the comments bring back memories and sadness for me as well. It's been 8 years since we lost my father-in-law a week before Christmas and 17 since my dear brother-in-law's passing on New Year's Eve. If only we could all feel the joy of the memories without remembering our losses, but of course that will never be.

  11. Sorry to not have expressed my thoughts at the time of this post, but know that I do care and send you warm hugs.

  12. A long overdue response to both of you, Janet & Joy.

    Janet, while any loss is painful, it's especially difficult when it happens so close to a holiday. While others are enjoying the festivities, whether it be Christmas, New Year's Eve or Memorial Day Weekend, we are forever reminded of our loss. It is too bad that we have such a hard time feeling the joy of the memories...

    Joy - No apologies necessary. I know you care. Thanks for the warm hugs. They are greatly appreciated.


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