I was searching for my favorite Christmas scarf.
It wasn’t in the normal place it usually is so I texted my hubby and he told me it was in a drawer downstairs. I went hastily down the steps singing along to my Christmas music excited to find my red and white scarf.
I opened the drawer and was completely caught off guard. It felt someone had punctured the air out of my lungs.
There was my dad’s black and white scarf.
The one he wore every year, every Christmas, because it was his favorite. The one he bought at Macy’s, in the women’s department, because the men’s scarves were just not fancy enough for this high-class dresser. (yes, my father was hysterical and yes, you would have loved him).
I was not expecting to find this scarf, I didn’t even know we had it.
My husband when he packed up dad’s things after he passed must have kept it, knowing I would want it. I sat there on my basement floor holding the scarf close to me and holding the memories even closer.
I closed my eyes and I could see my father barreling through my door on his lunch break unannounced, in his long black wool coat, his scarf draped around his neck. (Dad was always about making a grand entrance 😉 ). His phone would be in his ear, he’d be making a deal with a customer and making a sandwich all at the same time.
As my mind time traveled back to all the memories, I smiled, wishing I could step back inside each of them. Every crazy, fun-filled shopping adventure, every Christmas Eve watching him cook dinner, every Christmas morning him showing up at seven a.m. to watch our boys open their gifts.
As the days are drawing closer to Christmas I have found myself talking about my father more and more. I often hope others won’t be afraid to ask me about him and I am so blessed when they do and I can share about him.
So, because most people grieving won’t tell you this, can I share with you a beautiful gift you can give to them this Christmas?
Ask them about their loved one.
Ask them what they miss. Ask them what traditions they did this time of year that were special. Share with them that you want to know and you care about their grief.
If it is too fresh or new, they will tell you if they’re not ready to talk about it yet. Either way, they will feel loved and valued that you cared enough to ask.
And for those us who are missing someone special this year, first, can I give you a virtual hug? And secondly, here is a challenge: If others ask about our pain, let’s not be afraid to share it. Let’s not be so quick to wipe away our tears when they need to fall.
Our culture has taught us that crying is somehow a bad thing, pain is too be avoided, and neither are beneficial to the healing process and we can learn a different way.
If you need to cry, cry my friend.
Let those salty tears stream down your cheeks because the people we are missing? They mattered. Our memories matter. And all those tears? They each represent immeasurable love for the people we dearly miss and love cannot and will not be contained.
The other night I was making my dad’s favorite pork chops and I looked up at my hubby and said, “Dad would so love these.”
I stopped, shook my head and added, “I talk about him like he’s still alive..” Then I paused, having a moment of clarity, smiled, and said, “Because he is… he’s more alive now than ever huh?”
My hubby smiled back at me, “Yes, he is honey, yes he is indeed.”