Many years ago, when I was 33 and a young mother of 3, I had one of those years that can only be described as A Year of Great Loss.
In 1995 my father died, then 3 months later my mother died, and then 5 months later on New Year's Day - my eldest sister succumbed to colon cancer - fighting death until she could fight no longer. She filled that hospital room with wild energy - I could see her anger in the air.
As I put away my Christmas ornaments that year, I wept, and my tears and sadness filled those boxes, to be released every Christmas when opened them again. This year I felt a lightness when those boxes were opened and I believe that my tears have finally faded away.
There is a lightness.
I was Christmas Baking last night, and I decided to listen to some old Christmas music that I had set aside for many, many years. Last night I heard this music and did not feel that familiar cascading, crushing sorrow. I used to weep at my sink, when melancholy hit - blaming the season - but it was the music, always the music.
Last night I baked quietly in my [still] new-to-me kitchen. So thankful. I listened to my old music, that I used to love so much - and I felt peace and happiness. The grief has faded. The sorrow has ebbed away.
The Christmas Tree Farm - 2016