A Motherless Christmas

By L. M. Frye • December 19, 2016

My memory, my own, real memory of Christmas. You know the one that no one told you the story about or you have seen so many pictures that you think you remember it, but really you remember someone else version of it..... this is my first real Christmas memory....

I am not even sure how old I was. It is sad really, because I am sure I was about 8 or so... yet I cannot remember. I had done my Christmas shopping at school, like I did every year in elementary school. I was out to find a gift for each of my family members that I knew they would love. It was always my goal to get great gifts for my mom, dad and brother, although they were cheesy little dollar store type things.. but to me... they meant much more.

That year was special, our family had been through a rough patch and things were not great for us. Extended family helped us out and provided my brother and I with a great Christmas, for which I know now as a mother, my parents were overly grateful for. The hard times we faced were trying for an adult, never mind a child, but, I had a big brother who was very protective and who understood more than I did. We were lucky to have family who was happy to help us.

Thankfully, for us kids, my mother was home for Christmas.....it had been a month since she had been home, maybe even longer. I couldn’t wait for her to open the gift I got her and when she did ......

It seemed like life was ok, like everything was going to be fine.. Like nothing had ever happened .. that everything was going to be OK. She had a way of doing that. The facial expression said it all. To an adult.. the expression may have a “funny “ reaction, but to a child...her child... it was all the comfort I needed .. That one small expression. It wasn’t about the gift, although I treasure it now, it was the feeling it gave her and her ability to show me just how it made her feel.

I know this is my memory and not the memory of another or a story or even a photo.. This is my memory.... I can feel how her expression made me feel. Since that Christmas, I have felt that feeling a million times throughout my life... but, yet I never cataloged it until now... when I was crowned Miss Teen and was nervous, when I beat the odds and recovered from a horrific car crash, when i graduated high school, even though I dropped out, when I said I do, when I received my college diploma, or the time she held my hand through the worse, or what I thought was.. or maybe it was the day she watched the birth of her granddaughter and the pride on her face. Her facial expression always gave me comfort, like she knew i could read them. Keeping them positive just for me.

Tomorrow we will celebrate her life, on the anniversary of her death (December 20, 2013). This is the 3rd year we will be without her, without her smile, her infectious giddy Christmas spirit, her funny little faces, her overly thoughtful gifts, and mostly her enormous presence. My favorite Christmas memories started with her and while I feel like they ended with her, I will fight on to make memories of my own for my children. She will live on in our holiday and her presence will always be here through ME and through my daughter.

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