When you lose someone, do you dream that they are in a place of perfection? That they are watching over you through all of your troubles? Everyone has a memory of someone, and maybe even a material thing that they use to remember a special person. For me, it is a simple ornament that reminds me of a loved one; it is a simple ornament that helps me discover the truth behind Christmas.
I love putting up decorations; lights, trees, the works. Every year, just after Thanksgiving, my mom and I put up Christmas decorations. Each year I am filled with joy for the thought that Christmas is coming, and can’t wait for that special day. It is November 2004 and my mom has begun our Christmas music, meaning that is time to begin decorating. I through on my favorite sequin Christmas cap, and I put every ornament gingerly on our ancient, artificial Christmas tree.
Mom and begin solemnly picking up the extra Christmas boxes and other knickknacks. The doorbell gives a high pitched ring, and I jump up, anxious to see who is behind our old, brown door. Quickly, I glimpsed at the clock to find it is 3:40, right when the mail is supposed to show up. I sprint for the door, full of excitement, to find the one and only mailman, with red rosy cheeks, holding a big brown box with SCHUMACHER written on it. The jolly mailman hands me the big brown box, says a simple, “have a nice day,” and walks over to the next house.
I shut the door with great curiosity. What could this be? I think to myself. Looking at the return address, I get my answer. It is from my aunt and uncle, meaning that it just has to be presents, since they send presents each and every year. Shaking the box just be sure, I hear a muffled bump. With a glitter in my eye and a sincere smile, I open the package to find more than presents. Pulling out a small, white box, my eyes begin to fill with tears. First of joy, then of sadness. Inside the small box are the most wonderful ornaments ever. They area deep red, with gorgeous gold lettering.
“What is that?” my mom questions me. I respond with a peep of the word “ornaments.” She takes one look at them and falls silent. My mom has a twinkle in her eye as she scrutinizes the ornaments. On one of the ornaments read my grandpa’s name, the other read my grandma’s. Below their names reads the years in which each of them had lived. My grandma had died when I was two, my grandpa when I was ten.
After a minute or two, my mom hands me the read bulbs, and says that I can find a special place for them on the tree. Instead of doing what my mom expects by putting them on the tree, I plop right onto the couch, and begin to think. I think of the stories my mom told me about my grandma, and how she would hold me in her arms and sing for hours on end. And, I think of the times I had with grandpa and how we would play hangman, and how he would help me solve different brain teasers. Thinking of my life with them makes me think of the life I have ahead without them. It also makes me think of a time when my mom said something that really made me stop and think.
“You know what,” she said, “now that I think of it, whenever, I left home my mom would always say ‘see you later.’ It was the last time I saw her that she truly said ‘good-bye’.”
Thinking of that moment, I get up and gingerly place the ornaments on the tree. Looking at the tree, I discover the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not the fact that you receive presents, but the fact that you celebrate with your family, and remember everyone that you love that has passed. All it took me were two simple ornaments that I received from my aunt and uncle, and all really should take is a memory. A memory that you can keep in your heart forever.
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