Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Present - No Ghosts Allowed

Christmas - the fifth without my girl - is almost over and I cannot say I'm sorry to see it go.

I spent most of the day with family; we gathered at my mother's house and there was too much food and too much wine and too much television. Way too much sugar in too many forms. And I wonder if I will ever get used to feeling so alone in such a crowd. Five nieces and nephews, three of my siblings, my mother...and I did not hear one person say her name all day. That's a lot of silence amidst all that noise.

Christmas Past - ca. 1991

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11th - Again

From the moment of Britt's death, I've struggled with verb tense; past or present? Britt is or Britt was? She loved or she loves? In the early days of my grief, the past tense enraged me. In some instances it still does. I have a daughter - not had. She is my only child - not was. It may seem a small thing, but it's important to me to acknowledge in the most precise way possible her continuing presence in my life.

In other ways, the past tense is just what comes naturally; she loved animals and books and Mexican food. She was a talented writer. And then there are those moments where the rules about shifting tenses do not apply and I slip and slide among them. What is, what was, what would have been.

Today is her birthday. She loved chocolate cake. She would have been 24.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Favorite Things

Everyone's little girl has Christmas favorites. The things that make them squeal with delight when the boxes come down from the attic; things that are extra-special because they only come this time of year. Here are two of my girl's favorites.

Britt loved this book, a Night Before Christmas for the Deep South gang. No drifts of snow here, no fancy presents; just a sweet Christmas poem about family being the most important gift of all. Also, there's an elf named Jed, which always made her laugh. For the last few years, I've been looking for our copy of this book. Last night, my sister called to tell me that she'd found a box of Christmas things that belonged to me (stored in her attic during one of my many moves) and the book is now found.

Every year for her birthday (just two weeks before Christmas) one of Britt's presents was a new ornament for the tree. For four years running, nothing would do but this Hallmark set - Barbie! Dolls of the World! She loved them because "Barbie is perfect. And these are all Barbie. So, perfect can come from everywhere and look like everybody." Indeed. I gave this little collection to Miss Anna last night. Right now, she'll like them because they're Barbie. But later, we'll make sure she knows who they belonged to and what they meant to her.