Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent – there are four of them leading up to Christmas. It is the third one, and I still don’t have a single holiday decoration up anywhere in this house. I feel kind of bad about it. But in my defense – I’ve been busy.
For the most part, I’m OK with not having anything out yet. I feel like my Mom would be disappointed with me, but you know, she’ll just have to deal with it, wherever she is. This is the first year since she passed away that the Christmas season is not sucking for me. The first year I don’t have PTSD, the first year I’m not filled with a now-familiar sense of dread from looking back to the events of 4 years ago. I feel sad, and I miss my Mom, but it is finally, for the most part, OK. And maybe because of that, I don’t know – I am OK with celebrating Christmas a little differently this year and not having it all over the house.
My Dad sent me the following piece of writing this week. It was part of something he wrote as a tribute to my mom, in March of 2012, one year following her death. He wrote something, as did I, my Aunt Deepti, and my Mom’s brother, Jan. I would point you in the direction of that original post, but I managed to permanently blow away a huge chunk of my blog a while back, and I can’t find it. (I hope I have that post somewhere on my desktop though – it was some beautiful writing by all 4 of us, I have to say).
My parents were divorced when I was so young, that I don’t have any memories of all three of us together as a family. But he wrote this lovely piece about something he remembered about their life together, before I was born. I can picture it so clearly in my imagination…
Early in our marriage Monika asked to make a little table stand for an Adventskranz. The stand had a star-shaped base with a tapering, 16 inch mast, at the top of which I cut and secured a small 5 pointed star. I painted it all a warm Venetian red.
On the day before the first day of Advent, from the base of the top star, Monika would suspend, by four red ribbons, the Krantz that she had made by binding fir branches in a circle. It hung as a wreath, parallel to the table just above the base. On the Krantz she then would attach four, white styrene candles, equally spaced. Atop the upper star, she secured a little painted angel, a German, folk art angel made of turned wood.
The next day, the first Sunday of Advent, she would cover our small breakfast table with a folk tablecloth, set the Adventskranz in the center and the Adventskalender to one side. Then, she would set out two coffee cups, on saucers (not Meisen, though if we had had them, they would have been), and brew a pot of coffee. When the coffee was ready, the first of the four candles would be lit and we would sit down and enjoy the special space we had created. She would have stories to tell of other Advents, and at some point we would punch open the first day of the Adventskalender and share the chocolate that we knew was concealed inside.
There was a window for each of the days of Advent, so we celebrated each day with a little chocolate, and on the remaining 3 Sundays we sat with coffee and lit an additional candle.
I am grateful for my parents. Happy Advent to you, too.