Forward - From the Heartland of Carolina

This is a continuing story of the journey Forward shared by 2 people, Lynne and Tom. Both love to LIVE life to it's fullest, which currently means spending lots of time outdoors, working on various projects from gardens to patios, flowers to vegetables, sunrises and sunsets, birds and woodland critters, and spending time with family. Don't forget to check the monthly archives, and please feel free to leave us a comment so we know you stopped by.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas - past, present and future

It is that time of year again to celebrate Christmas - spend time with family and loved ones - reflect of past Christmases and dream of the future. I must say the past few Christmases have been a rollercoaster of emotions. It all started with, I guess, Christmas of 1999 when Glenn and I moved into our new home here in North Carolina on Dec 21st - a very rushed move at that because our home of 32 years up in Delaware sold in record time and the buyers wanted in by Jan 1st. lol - I can't even remember where we had dinner on Christmas day that year - I know our house was full of cartons but I did have a tree up with minimal decorating.

Christmas of 2000 saw us setteling into retirement and another grandson and really looking forward to enjoying our 'golden' years - we seemed to have our act together - the trains got put up and the villages got displayed - all was right with the world - the same was repeated in 2001. The trains now had a permanemt room and were up all the time so it was just a matter of tweaking them for the holidays and decorating the rest of the house. I was really getting into the nuances of decorating a rancher rather than a 2 story colonial. It was fun and exciting. Both our kids and families were back in North Carolina within an hours drive having both spent about a year in Texas. We could all spend time together and life was even better.

2002 - a bittersweet Christmas if ever there was one. Ealier that year we had gotten the news that Glenn had incurable cancer - prognosis from the start was less than a year - there went the 'golden' years of retirement. How do you approach the holidays with that kind of news? Do you go all out and make it the best ever all the while knowing it will be the last one as a complete family? Glenn and I never did talk about the fact that it was in all probability our last one together but we, well I, went through with all the decorating. As the days progressed we were blessed to have both his sisters, a beloved aunt and cousin, many relatives on my side of the family all visit at some point during the Christmas season. It was a joy for me to sit back and watch him actually smile on many occassions enjoying those last very precious times with extended family. God must have been working for during that time while we had company Glenn was actually feeling pretty good - his bad days were after different ones left. He was able to share stories and memories with his sisters. While at times a very difficult Christmas it was also a joyous one.

2003 - the only one that I really wanted to wipe from my mind. I lost Glenn earlier that year and was still dealing with all the 'firsts' that come after losing the very heart of my being. I really wanted to just go from Thanksgiving to late into January and skip the whole holiday thing. I knew I wasn't the first to ever deal with that nor would be the last but it was personal - it was real - it was devastating. But - it wasn't just me - there was still family that needed to celebrate - grandkids to enjoy and since I had moved our Mom in with me - she deserved a Christmas so I went through the motions and actually was able to smile as we remembered Christmases past. I think that was when it really hit me that my life was forever changed and I was going to have to accept it and start moving forward. I decorated completely different then I had in the past knowing I could never go back.

2004 - talk about a range of mixed emotions - newly engaged - nervous - wondering what the heck did I just do - am I ready for marriage again - was Tom ready - this was going to be a very interesting Christmas - what were his traditions - would he like the 'family' thing - would it be too much all at once - so many many unanswered questions - plus extended family visiting again. I did know one thing - if Tom could survive the holidays - well... we were on the right track with the whole marriage deal - lol. I think he was shellshocked by the time he was to back home but we did survive which means the wedding did take place as scheduled and that brings us to .........

2005 - I know that I have come full circle - Christmas is back to where it belongs only with a deeper meaning. It is not about all the presents, the perfect house and commercialism but it is all about family and sharing the days with ones you love and sharing them to the fullest. I have been given a new lease on life - I have the most wonderful husband to share it with. I and my siblings still have Mom with us to share yet another Christmas and to make more memories.I have two wonderful kids and now 4 wonderful grandkids - it doesn't get any better than that. AND.......decorating is ramped up to full force again - Tom and I sorta, without even discussing it, took on our own little jobs - he did a fantastic job on the outside with lights and I have turned the inside into a Christmas fantasy. We are talking about adding more indoor trees next year - maybe one in every room........

If you get anything from all this rambling it is to hold your family close - share with them - love them and if you were to lose one close to you - only their body is gone - they will forever live in your memory and in the eyes of their children and grandchildren. Don't be afraid to move forward - to live again and embrace the future. I know I have. A question was asked on a forum the both Tom and I go to "What is the glue that holds your family together at Christmas" - my answer was plain and simple "LOVE"

Peace my friends - life is very good in the 'heartland'


Blogger alli said...

*sitting here in tears*

Losing my Daddy was THE most heart-breaking thing to ever happen to me, but having the rest of my family and friends near me to comfort me and are always there is a blessing I hold dear to my heart. You two never cease to amaze me everyday with the simple pleasures in life and remind me that LOVE is the most precious thing of all to have and to share. Thanks for always being there for me through thick and thin. LOve you both. Happy Holidays.

18/12/05 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Magee said...

Like Alli - sitting here in tears -with this Christmas being a first for my family your post really hit home - Enjoy every minute with your Mom! I wish I could have had one more with mine

I am so happy for you and Tom - I wish you and your family a wonderful family filled Christmas and very Happy New Year!


20/12/05 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was beautiful, Lynn... you have been through a lot. May God bless you this holiday season, Laura

21/12/05 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Jo said...

Merry Christmas! God bless your family! I pray this Christmas is very special with your family.

24/12/05 8:09 PM  
Blogger tazfan said...

Each and every time Christmas comes now, I think about how it was with Phil. I wish I could focus more on how it is with CLive, but neither if us really wants anything to do with Christmas. I am so glad that you two are together, and loving every day, special or not, in the same way that Phil and I used to. It seems so long ago Lynne, that I told you that life was not finished with you. That you might still have another life partner in your life. Do you remember what you told me? I hope you do, because I would love to see your face when you think about about it. You said exactly the same as I did when I lost Phil. NEVER!! I couldn't. But look at you now! Mrs Mann. Loving and loved.

My Christmas is not good because of the memory of things that have happend over the last year or two. I hope you two never have to have another bad Christmas. Ever.

25/12/05 3:00 PM  

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