Tuesday will mark our family’s fourth Christmas without our sweet grandma Lorraine. Four holiday seasons, how can that be? I remember when the first Christmas after her passing felt impossible. “It will get easier” seemed like the stupidest and most insensitive phrase. But life keeps moving and it has gotten easier, and that fills me with guilt and relief all at the same time.
Her memory lives on all year long, but no time more than Christmas. She absolutely loved Christmas, but not for the presents or parties. She loved Christmas for the music and the lights. The eggnog and the brandy (and wine and champagne). The fruitcake and the endless sweets. The time with family, especially when it meant I traveled home from college.
She opened each present on Christmas morning like it was the first present she had ever received. Carefully, oh so carefully, she would open the paper while making sure to salvage bows, ribbon and tissue paper for the next year. Whether the gift was a wooden spoon or a fancy outfit, she would touch it over and over, exclaiming how perfect it was and how we spent too much money on her. If you tried to take her picture on Christmas morning you were always met with a “NO” exclamation and a hand that immediately went up to cover her face. Oh, and we often made her wear a Santa hat. She was a trooper.
Christmas traditions have changed a lot since she left us. Mike and I got married so holidays have been split back and forth between Los Angeles and Denver. None of us can stand fruitcake or regular Coca Cola so those treats are no longer purchased. I didn’t even buy eggnog this year and the house is brandy-less.
But if she could visit the home that Mike and I have made, one year after we closed in December 2011, she would “ooohh” and “aaahhh” over our tree, telling me how beautiful each and every ornament looks. She would love our holiday fireplace mantel and be so happy that Kona has his own stocking. She would make me buy eggnog and spike it to our liking, especially while watching Christmas choir specials on PBS. You see, she thought watching mass and choirs on PSB Christmas Eve excused her from midnight services. She preferred cozy bathrobes to holiday sweaters.
I miss her daily, but I expect Christmastime will always be the hardest. So I write this post in order to share my memories of this incredible lady with you, and to pass along the love and joy she simply radiated at Christmas. It was such a blessing.