Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's Starting

The thing I was most afraid of hit me tonight. Christmas.

I was wrapping up presents and putting things in boxes and getting them ready. One item is something that Jim got for his sister a couple months before he died. He saw it and thought it would be perfect in her house. Wrapping that to send to Bev really was painful. I could remember his face and his smile. His asking me if I thought it would be okay.

Our first Christmas was here in this very house, with his Mom pulling out a tree and Jim decorating and hanging lights on it. The next Christmas we had was in our first apartment. Jim had given me a kitten - Shadow, for a birthday present and Shadow was determined to tear down anything that resembled decoration. We ended up hanging garland from the walls and putting the ornaments and lights on that. It worked. And like us, it was a unique way of handling things.

When we moved into our townhouse in White Marsh, it was going to be the perfect Christmas. We were in a beautiful home and there was even snow on the ground. Shadow was a few years old and we had another cat, Figaro (who is still here) and the puppy named Gryphon. Our first Dalmatian and more than the cats, our baby. We got our first live tree and spent the evening hanging lights to the sound of Christmas music. I had my first holiday sweatshirt on and he his red flannel shirt. I have a very clear memory of standing on our deck, while it was snowing, with Jim's arm around me and the kiss that he gave me. That was a perfect moment. Like from a movie.

The tree was a worry for us that year. With the puppy wandering around and the cats using the tree to hide out around, we decided to try and block it off a little. Again, Jim thought outside the box and he put up a small white garden fence. Gryphon was respectful of this and the cats would leap over it as they wished. It was a clever solution. But that was Jim. Often times, I would think of a what to do and he would think of how to do it. Presented with a problem, he would solve it. Somehow.

We always hung stockings and there was one for Jim, me and the pets. A couple times we couldn't find the box that had them in it so I made them again. I loved going to Michael's craft store and getting glitter paint and other decorating tools and creating a stocking for Jim. With no children of our own, we tried to keep the spirit of Santa alive within ourselves.

I wrapped up some photos for Jim's daughter and for his sister. It was very hard to sort thru the photos and see the Christmas's that have past. I sent his daughter the photo that Jim loved the most. It was of his son and daughter and they are on the beach and grinning up at him. He had that on a shelf in every home we lived in. I think it took him back to an idyllic day for him and his children. It was very special. Many of the photos I sent to his sister have been shown on the blog. Him as a child and a teen and in his early years of his first marriage. I was feeling that she should have these as they were more of her heritage with him.

The photos brought tears and wishes and a wash of emotions that hadn't been touched on all day. I wasn't quite expecting it. Jim and I really were a good team and it was his love for me that kept me going. His belief in me. I tried to give that back to him and to make sure he knew what a good man he was. Yes, this will be a hard Christmas.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Hi Betsy,

These priceless gifts you are wrapping and giving with tears in your heart will be the most cherished by the ones receiving them. Your heart is so sweet to do this through your pain. I love the memories of the pets and decorations. Our home has many like that too and I think they did more distruction than the kids:)
You are doing good, my friend. Your gifts honor Jim and will bless each receiver. And I am praying your Christmas this year will be a blessing to you through the pain.
Thinking of you daily,
Laurie in Ca.