Every year Grandmother bought me an ornament. As a child, the purpose was that when I moved out and had my own tree, I would have enough ornaments. And I did.
In high school, she began buying me the Mary’s Angel series keepsake ornaments from Hallmark. Eventually, she gave me money, and I purchased the ornament myself to add to my collection. The tradition continued for the rest of my family. An ornament each year for the girls, and one for Marty too. Even though I have been the one picking them out for the last several years, I do not know what I want to do about this year.
I bought each girl an ornament, but I wrapped it up from Marty and me. Actually, I bought them two, both from us, but one was with Grandmother’s tradition in mind. I bought my niece an ornament, but so far not yet for my nephew. Should I take on this tradition? Do we leave it as something that Grandmother did? Do I buy myself the Mary’s Angel for this year?
I went to the Hallmark website to see what this year’s ornament looked like. I even put it in the cart. And then the tears came. Part of me wants that tradition to end. If it doesn’t come from Grandmother, then I don’t want it anymore. Part of me wants it to continue, as if she is still gifting them to me. I’m conflicted.
Grief complicates holidays. It is interesting what things activate grief. Is it a picture? A smell? A recipe? An ornament? A song? We do not know what may or may not bother us. What brings a smile, and what causes the tears to flow?
As you celebrate this year, may you be surrounded by warm memories, the kind that make you smile, and maybe a few that make you cry. Remember that you are loved, and accept the hope, peace, joy, and love God offers.