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The Spirit of Christmas

Yesterday was a good day. We stumbled upon a holiday greens sale at the Arboretum at Swarthmore College complete with S’mores and a bonfire. Then we ventured out to Arasapha farms for the perfect Christmas tree. Ryan and I made mulled wine, played a little holiday music, danced around the dining room, and decorated the tree.

Then I found it. The ornament that reminds me of December 2010. The holidays are a magical time of the year. You can find joy everywhere.  I still find joy in that long December three years ago. Happy and scared to finally be pregnant, I felt like I was in a bubble – that time before no one really knows and you’ve got this amazing little secret.

And then comes the unexpected, tremendous silence and emptiness that changes everything, and this week in time will never be the same. Christmas will never be the same. You will never be the same.

But then you find this light – a husband who picks you up and carries you across the coals; a mother who lets you lay in her bed and takes care of you like she did when you were little; and support from so many other members of this “club” that none of you ever wanted to be a part of. Ironically, there is also this incredible surge of hope. Looking back, the hope part still makes me sad because “it” never happened and “that” baby never came – not the first, not the last. Your story changed and took another direction. 

We’ve all experienced loss in some way or another. I don’t know what it is like to lose a spouse, a sibling, a friend or a parent too soon. This time of year, I think of all those people in my life who know that kind of loss. Then I try to remember all of the blessings. I have a supportive, healthy family, an amazingly supportive husband, and treasured friends. Life can still be good and sometimes you even forget about the hole in your heart.

And then that beautiful butterfly ornament flies out of that holiday box of decorations that has been stored in the basement all year. It immediately fills your house with a spirit that takes you back to those quiet moments three years ago – the ones that no one knows but you. The spirit doesn’t want you to forget them. It wants to stay part of you and everything that life has planned for you. It reminds you that it has never forgotten you and will always be a part of the love that created it.  Then you cry. You cry like that day you released all of those souls and you saw the snow that no one else saw. You cry as if you are meeting for the last time (but hopefully not). You cry because you are so happy to be surrounded by that joy – if just for a moment.

Maybe none of it is real and maybe I imagined the whole thing. I don’t care. It’s mine.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. eleanor #

    I love you Cheri LaSpada Herlinger!

    December 8, 2013
  2. Fran LaSpada #

    Thank you so much for having the courage to share and allowing us to become one with this most intimate part of your heart and soul. There are no words that can express how much I love and repect you!

    December 8, 2013
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