Sunday, December 23, 2012

she gave me more than a tree

I didn't know it would be our last Christmas together.

My sister and I accompanied our mom to her neighbor's Christmas party, two winters ago.  It was a graduation party also; the mother of three almost-grown-children had completed her degree and was celebrating with the many relatives who had come in town from various cities.

What I remember most about that evening is the tree.  I'd snagged a seat on the edge of the large, plush sofa, claiming the spot closest to the tree, mesmerized by the majesty of the grand Noble whose star on the top was higher than I could have reached on any stepstool.

The tree was flocked.  The softest coating of artificial snow covered every branch, some of them weighty, others not, just as real snow settles on real trees.  For a few glorious hours I was in a forest with this tree and despite the festivities filling each room of the house, I had found the spirit of Christmas in the stillness of this tree. 

The next month, my mother was gone, just a couple of weeks after my dad's death.  Layers of grief swept over me, unexpectedly and heavy; more snow than a single branch can take.  That I'm continuing to write about it hints at how devastating it was - has been - is still.  To me and my sister, they were our dearest friends.

It was for a dear friend that I stopped by a nursery a couple of weeks ago, to take a few photos of flocked trees to send to her, such trees unfamiliar and unavailable where she lives. 

It was seventy-four degrees that afternoon the blizzard struck me as I stood among thirty, beautifully flocked trees, painfully recalling that evening that is now so bittersweet.  I wanted to leave yet I wanted to stay.  I wanted a flocked tree.

I shared my memories of it all with my friend.  When we were young teens we shared everything.  Enthralled and determined, Carol ended up flocking a tree herself and I'll bet it is beautiful.   

I was surprised with the gift of one yesterday; a big, gloriously white Noble fir, given to me by my sister who understands the healing power of such things.  No lights will be strung nor a single ornament hung on it.  It shall remain long after the Epiphany, through January even.  I'll share many quiet moments with it by my desk, keeping the spirit of the season long after the glitter of Christmas has been taken down. 
My friend and her sisters are spending what is predicted to be their last Christmas with their mother.  My heart hurts for them.  A flocked tree may become a bittersweet memory for Carol too and we may find ourselves after all these years, still with much to share. 

DSC_0421 by 3906Becca

With all my love and forever grateful to you Robin.
And to the three elves; Jim, Jhil and Michelle.
{I've never seen a badass, handsome elf
 with a handlebar mustache before!}
And to Sandra, who always makes things joyful.

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