Happy Birthday, Alice...I miss you
If Mom had lived, she would have been 91 today. That's getting up there, but 68 was too young to go. Especially the way she went. Lung cancer that spread.
It's a hard day sometimes, even though it was 22 years ago she died (she died a couple of months short of her birthday.) It's just hot-wired into you that today was her day, and that Christmas was always extra special. For about the past eight years or so, the girls and I would go out to the Fatima Shrine in Medway and light a candle for her. I won't be doing that tonight, I know much to the girls' chagrin, but Medway is a long way to go and back on the roads the way they are now at night. Things change. Parents live and die. Parents break up. Dads move. Sometimes it's a hard life and a lot of tears are shed, but losing Mom was one of the toughest things I ever went through, and you look back and think, I got through this, I can get through this other thing.
So instead, I have her picture next to the Buddha by the fireplace, and I have a candle burning and I lit some incense in remembrance. I know she'd be shaking her head at that, staunch Catholic that she was. Years after her death I would talk to her. I mean, out-loud. I'd walk down the street just discussing things with her. Crazy? No, it isn't. We don't realize the dead are all around us.
We don't cry enough in this country. We always have to go around smiling and faking happiness, laughing all the time like hyenas. Nobody can be as happy as most people want you to be. You'd have to be a blithering, drooling idiot to be happy all the time in this society. No wonder we're a nation of Prozac. Most times you can face your sadness and get through it. It's the only way to get through it.
Merry Christmas, huh? Yeah, it is. Christmas is about family; not the fat man squeezing down the chimney. It's about family, living and dead and spread all over the world.
And one of these days, maybe it will really sink in that we're really all one big family, but that's a stretch. It is my Christmas wish, though. And maybe someday I'll get it. After all, one year I did get that Lionel train.