Yesterday, we went to a tree farm to cut down our tree, which is always amusing, since each one of us is, oh, shall we say, strong-minded. Phrases like "That one is scrawny," "Too short," "Not enough room for ornaments," "What do you mean?" "I don't like that kind," "The bluer, the better," and so on, were flying thick and fast, and I was laughing a lot at the differences in our opinions. The guys like a tall tree with sparse branches, so that the ornaments and lights are clearly visible, and I like a fluffier, thick-with-branches, naturally blue-hued spruce or Noble Fir. They won, but there is a hint of blue to the needles in the Norwegian Spruce that we bought. We all agree that it's the best fun to go to the farm together and cut our own tree.
When Katie was alive, we had four opinions to juggle, but at least she and David were so happy & excited to be at the tree farm, cutting a tree, that they were a bit flexible. I have memories of them throwing a small Nerf football among the rows of beautiful trees as we tried to make a decision.
Every small girl I saw at the tree farm brought a sweet, but bittersweet, longing to my heart. David had his cup of cider there, just as we often do.
Last year, I was so angry that Katie was gone that I felt a bit snide as we were choosing a tree. I felt I was just going through the motions. This year, we spoke (as we walked through the acres of trees) about how it is still hard to do this without her, but that we are less shocked about it. We are getting used to the fact that this is our life, without Katie. She wouldn't want us to stop doing the lovely things that we enjoy, but I don't enjoy them as much, without her.
This morning, as Gregg and I took a walk on the south end of Bainbridge, we ran into one of my friends from the Bible class that I used to attend. Her name is Leigh, and her only son passed away when he was in high school; she has two surviving daughters. It was a gift to chat with Leigh, whose bereavement is now 8 years old. She wrote a very encouraging, insightful card on the one-year anniversary of Katie's passing. She told us today that the holidays are still hard. She is understanding, joyous, compassionate, broad-minded, gentle, funny and so very kind. She gives us hope that we can survive this hard road and still be ourselves. Thank you, Leigh!
I hope that your holiday preparations are filled with love and joy.