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Remembering Those Who Are No Longer With US

As the holidays are upon us, our Christmas trees have been trimmed, and mantels have been styled with each stocking hung. You may have already attended a few holiday gatherings & mingled with one another. But there is a silence in your heart for those no longer here; their presence is still very strong, which can sometimes be more challenging to swallow.

In today's post, I will chat with you about missing a loved one during the holidays. Of course, we miss them all year round, but something about the holidays awakens that feeling even more so. If you have been with me since the beginning, then you know that I lost my dad back in 2017 with six years under my belt. Is it still called grief? Or is it just plain missing him? I know that people say that grief comes in waves & has no end, but I believe that during the holidays it hits a little differently. I'll tell you why: on other occasions when you're "missing" or "grieving," you might only be the one at that given moment with these feelings. During the holidays, many of us feel this way. When you come across someone & they share that they're missing their mother, father, child, spouse, a grandparent or even a furbaby, you know that gut-wrenching feeling. You may just come out & say, "I'm so sorry," or are even taken back to your own feelings. I know that with myself, I tend to do both & walk away with a connection with that person & feel their pain and sadness. It's like we're in the same boat. I know it's not the boat we like, but it's the reality.

Over the past years, I have learned how to overcome some of the sadness & remember my dad; I know that is not easy for everyone to do. I couldn't do it for a very long time & to be honest with you, I hated when people would tell me to remember the good times. Of course, I did. I would remember all the time & replay them over & over, but as time passes, there are no new memories. So I was left to make new ones on my own. Now I tell myself during the holidays to remember the beautiful times. This year I decorated his photo with garlands & placed mini bottle brush trees on his frame this year. I'll make his favorite meal on occasions & serve it to my family. Sometimes, I'll tell them it was one of my dad's favorite meal. Other times, I don't; it's my way of creating new memories with him in this new world that I am living with him. I 'll dance around in the kitchen, listening to our favorite Christmas music. I have been wearing one of his favorite fleece Columbia zip-up jackets lately. It is a faded light green, and the Columbia logo is slightly darker to create the contrast. It still has a lot of warmth left to it for many seasons to come that I can enjoy. If you catch my morning coffee stories on IG, you may spot me wearing it, as I love wearing it in the morning & the evening. I love to write about him all the time. It comforts me in some way. It helps me get through; I don't think I'll ever stop talking & sharing about my dad; why would I? He was & is an amazing dad.

Be kind to yourself, acknowledge your real feelings & don't let anyone tell you differently, regardless of whether it is the first holiday season, sixth, or decades. Try doing what I mentioned in the above paragraph. Write a holiday letter to them or go to the store & grab a holiday card. You can even address it & then tuck it away in that box I know you may have full of memories. I have my box & add to it often.

So, this holiday season, as much as you're being kind to yourself, be kind to others even if they may not express their loss; we know that we all "miss" differently. Even a gentle smile or nod to the person at the store can go a long way.

To honor all who are no longer with us, I have created a beautiful Christmas tablescape that I have shared on Instagram and included the photos here. It is a simple tablescape but with a lot of love & memory put into it. Last summer, in June, we lost our neighbor "John" (I'm holding his real name for privacy); he was a good neighbor to have. He had been living here for many years, too many to count. His house was one to admire; the land it sits on is beautiful. He only came over a handful of times but made each visit memorable. He even came over the summer before when we gathered for my dad's 5th year of his passing. We enjoyed a good BBQ, drinks, music & conversations. That may have been the last time he came over for a meal. Winters were hard on him & given that last winter was one of the longest in Sonoma County, we would check in on him often. As winter turned into summer, I tell you, winter was long, so we jumped right into summer. I still remember seeing him through our kitchen window as he would go out & collect his daily mail. Since we moved in, I would see him through our living room window between 4:45 & 5:15pm . Recently, the postal office had changed the location of several of our neighbor's boxes. But what seemed okay to most of them, I know John didn't like it one bit. Sadly, his passing came very suddenly & we missed seeing him & his gentle high wave with the other hand in his pocket. Last weekend, his family was in town to hold the estate sale. I'd usually be cheerful to attend an estate sale, but I wasn't, I was sad. This one hit differently, it would be all of John's possessions. Seeing people come & go & park on his property made it seem real, he was gone. On the last day, we went over & met his family. I came home with a collection of Spode classic Christmas tree dishes in their original box. I knew I would create a tablescape in honor of John & for all who are no longer with us. They have a seat at our table now. The day I set aside to create the tablescape, I opened the box & each piece was packed oh so carefully. I just knew that John had never opened the box since his wife's passing many years ago. Each piece was wrapped with such care. The setting of the table was Christmas-themed & John's dishes looked oh so beautiful, like new, with no scratches or chips. I added a few of my dishware, like the Spode glassware. The dishes hadn't been seen or displayed for a very long time. I brought out my linens, candles & candle holder. Twelve candles were set, one for each month of the year that we remember. As I lit each candle, it felt very welcoming & warm; Christmas had arrived in our home differently, in a way that I honored so very much.
Christmas Tablescape

Spode Christmas Tree Mug

A view into Christmas French Ruffled Tablecloth

12 brass candle holder with taper candles

Spode Mug

Merry Christmas Embroidered Napkin

Christmas Tablescape

Remembering those who are not with us can be painful, but I hope that you can find some moments of joy where you can create new memories this holiday season. It is the birthday of Jesus & we shall celebrate him all together in any way possible. I am very grateful to have John's dishes in my collection that I will cherish in my lifetime. I am delighted to share them with you today; thank you for allowing me to do so.

It's okay to miss more this holiday season but always continue making memories with the ones that love you here & celebrate each day with you.

In all you do this holiday season, do it with the utmost love.


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