December is a heavy month for me. Not only does it hold beloved family traditions, it holds the memories of the passing of both my parents. Every year as the snow falls and neighbours hang their seasonal decor, a feeling comes over me. It is almost unnoticed at first, a gentle melancholy, then a yearning. Images from a season past enter my mind, a time when relatives had come out to the farm to celebrate, sliding their cars into deep snowy ditches on their way out. The house was warm, the oven pumping out delicious smells in waves of heat. Windows were steamy from too many people talking all at once and laughter tickled the ears. Today, my house is silent. Everyone has gone in their own direction and I am left with these thoughts. I never knew I could long to hear my father’s voice so much. Just to hear him laugh again; see his face light up in humour. It has been 19 years.
This year, I think about my mom as well. She often put great effort into decorating our home. She would paint mirrors and windows, hang beautiful homemade decorations, and place candles around. Talking was her favourite holiday activity. As a child it bored me, but there was comfort in the drone of constant conversation. My last Christmas with her was several years ago. My husband, kids and I made the 5 hour drive through the Pine Pass. Even though she was in constant pain, her house looked lovely. There was a lot of conversation and laughter and I believe my kids were both bored and comforted by it. Mom passed away last year, within days of the anniversary of Dad’s passing.
Today, my house is quiet. In my mind I hear the holidays of the past and as plan ahead, I am conscious of the importance that holidays remembered will hold for my kids in the future. (photo by me, Kim (Gullion) Stewart.)