Saturday, December 10, 2011

It Would Be an Honor To Hang Your Felt Snowman on MY Tree

A few years ago I purchased two large boxes of Christmas ornaments at a garage sale.  There must have been at least 50 ornaments.  Each one was individually wrapped in tissue paper.

The woman, who the ornaments originally belonged to, had passed away.  Her daughter was the one having the garage sale.  I couldn't understand how she could part with these items.  When I asked her that very question, she said that they just wouldn't match her Christmas décor.

She sold me both boxes for $5.00.  I was very excited about my bargain.

I couldn’t wait to get home and go through the boxes.  I was sure I could make quite a profit by putting each one of those ornaments up for sale on eBay. 

As I started to unwrap the ornaments, I was surprised to find that they were all handmade and that each one was different.

I found a pom-pom Santa with popsicle stick skis, three tiny hand knitted sweaters, one red, one green, and one white; each hanging on pipe cleaner hangers, a cross-stitch wreath, a felt snowman and gingerbread lady, a crocheted angel with a golden halo, and beaded candy canes.  And there were many more.

Even though I had never met this woman, I suddenly had a picture of her in my mind.  I imagined her sitting at a table with several of her friends.  It was their annual get together.   In the middle of the table there was felt and Styrofoam, yarn and pom-poms, glitter and beads, pinecones and holly branches.

Among the giggles, chatter and gossip, busy hands were stitching and gluing.    There were ooh’s and ahh’s as each item was finished and proudly displayed.

Fresh brewed coffee and plates of Christmas cookies awaited the ladies as they each finished up their projects.

After I had unwrapped all of the items, I started to separate them into groups of  three so that I could take photos for my eBay auctions.   I wondered how much I should charge for each group.  

After imagining these women lovingly making these treasures, I realized how priceless each one of these items was and I knew that it would be hard to part with any of them.

So, now every year as I unwrap each snowman, santa, sweater, candycane and wreath I think of those women as I hang them on my tree in their honor.

 Yesterday I buried my son.   As we drove home from the funeral it was dusk. 
As we passed the many homes which were lit up and decorated for Christmas, I couldn't imagine myself writing one Christmas card, stringing lights on the trees in our yard or decorating our Christmas tree.  

Didn't everyone in those brightly lighted houses understand that I am sad and grieving?  

As I sat down to write about this today, I thought about the purchase of my treasured Christmas goodies from a few years ago.   I thought about about how that woman, who I had never even met, left me with a loving piece of her.

Thinking of that woman made me realize something that my grief was keeping buried.  I realized that my son will always be with me.

I will especially know that when I see the smile on his son's face when he spots the white felt snowmen on Grandma's Christmas tree.


  1. I have had you in my mind ever since I realized that your son had passed away. I send you my condolences, prayers and a wish for patience with yourself and others.  I pray that you will find solace and slowly accept that he is with you, but not in a way that you can squeeze his hands, wink at him, or give him a hug that lasts just a bit longer than THAT.....

    As for driving past the homes that are aglow with festive decorations of the season.... your perception of wonder at how others can be jubilant when your family is so sad.... I know what you describe. It is a mystery isn't it? How we are together in real time, but our emotional experience is so varied, depending on what is happening in our life at the time.

    I do so love the post about this box of family treasures that was so easily given away because the esthetic didn't align with daughter's taste. I have alwys thought the sometimes homely, homemade ornaments have the most charm.

    Relish in the enjoyment of Christmas through your grandson's experience. He is your path back to happy, at least that's what I think.

  2. Dear Linda
     You and your family have been on my heart since your post about losing your son (and before when you told us his story). 
    We have stopped putting up the tree for a variety of reasons. I still think of all the ornaments I have in boxes that were lovingly made by family and friends. My BFF helped me a few years ago make a list of all the ornaments and who made them over the years. I hope one day to give all the "pretty ornaments" to my nieces when they have their own homes. Will they want the "not the right decor" ornaments?  Will they too go to a garage sale or be donated to Goodwill? In the mean time, I will continue to cherish the memories those ornaments bring to me.
    Keeping you in my prayers this season and hope you know that you now have an angel in heaven looking over you.

    PS: Isn't funny that we both wrote about ornaments today?!

  3. I have been reading your blog these past few weeks since I found BlogHer.  I have been enjoying your A-Z posts and started reading your older work.  I can't tell you how your posts about your beautiful son have touched me.  I am so very sorry for you loss.  I felt as I read these that I could have written them when I lost my hubby to cancer 12/14/2006.  I was 40, and it was the midst of the holiday season etc.  The doctors manner was similar with us, (some were amazzing, but others were cold and not helpful)  I hope if any read your posts they see for themelves how some compassion is called for.    I was lucky as a social worker was on staff and was there to assist us.        I hope bringing this up is not going to upset you, but just thought you should know your blog has touched me.      I am a New Yorker and will root for the Mets for both of us!

  4. Thank you Winnie, for you kind words.  I am sorry for your loss.  My daughter-in-law is a young widow and is having a difficult time.   My heart aches for her and for my grandson.  I know how difficult it was for you to lose your husband at such at early age, especially from the evil that is cancer.  
    Anne eloquently and poignantly writes about coping with loss of her husband on her blog:

    It’s nice to know that there are people, like you, who take the time to let me know they empathize with me.

    I appreciate it so very much.