Stories of Things

Stories of Things - The Missing Christmas

Yesterday was Christmas. It was a beautiful morning with my little family. My girls go to their dad’s house each year on Christmas day around 11 am after we’ve had our Christmas morning together, and they stay for a few days. After I drop the girls off it’s just Ken and me with our two kitty-boys, Rocky and Adrian. I was feeling very under the weather, so we took the afternoon easy, I spent most of it in bed flipping through movies and thinking about what I’d write for my “Stories of Things” post which I ended up not posting, partially because I got lost.

My “Stories of Things” challenge has had me thinking a fair amount about the memories and value that can be placed in everyday objects. All in all, the objects bear no value beyond that we place in them. I’ve had a fantastic journey this month recalling moments, interactions, people, and feelings triggered by various pieces scattered throughout my home. Yesterday, my mind started walking through memories of Christmases past, when I realized I could not locate a very specific Christmas memory. Perhaps it’s some sort of automated trauma control, I don’t know. I was trying to remember the last Christmas I had with my brother. He passed away on Feb 6, 1987. He was 15, I was 11, my sister was 7. Our family was always quite close. I know we were always together on Christmas, so Christmas of 1986 would have been no different. I know we were in our home in Panaca, NV. It’s possible it was our first Christmas in that home. Could it have been our second? I remember a lot surrounding that time, but for some reason, Christmas of 1986 is completely missing from my mind. Usually, I can remember a gift I gave or received, and that would trigger a flood of surrounding memories. I can remember the year after fairly well, and most after that. I can remember Christmases before. I’ve gone through a stack of photo books I borrowed from my sister a couple months ago. She lives near now though, I’ve not had a chance to ask her if she can remember anything from this Christmas that is missing from my brain. I find it so strange that I cannot recall one single moment from that particular Christmas. 

Thinking about it for almost 24 hours now, I’m realizing how much time I’ve spent trying to find these lost memories. I got sucked into a strange vacuum of sadness and loss, then sadness about the loss of memory. Realizing that jarred me into a keen reality, maybe it’s not all that important that I locate these memories. While reflection is important and valuable for growth, it’s also important that I not get stuck searching for them, especially if that means spending too much time in spaces that are not constructively moving me forward. Grieving for loss is absolutely OK, but this wasn't that. This was different. And maybe all that’s important is that the memories I do have of our family times together are all pretty good ones. THIS Christmas brought great opportunity to make wonderful new memories with my own children. I love our Christmases. I can relish in moments that are fresh in my mind and perhaps instead of concerning over lost memories I can spend time writing about the morning’s events so that in some future moment, should I find my memory suffering from dislodged recollection ability, I can pull up my writing and relive those moments - moments captured fresh after they occurred, not left to patchy sparks ignited by old objects.

Letting go has been a big theme for me in 2015. While I’m a firm believer that letting go does not have to mean forgetting, I am realizing that maybe sometimes it needs to. While I do wish I could remember that missing Christmas, I’m OK with it sailing away. Instead of feeling sadness and loss over it, I’ll imagine I’ve set it free. Letting go can take practice. Letting go can often mean change of habit. Letting go can mean growing. This kind of letting go creates spaciousness in life. Spaciousness creates opportunity for light and balance - things I welcome into my life with wide open arms.