Christmas comes every year, and every year, way back in the forgotten corridors of my self, a sleeping darkness is disturbed. At first all that can reach me is the faint shadow of a feeling. As the shadow begins to take shape, and I realize what is lurking, I repeat my Christmas mantra: The best gift is to show my friends and family that they matter to me. The best gift is to show my family and friends that I care. Perhaps the light will wash this ghost away. The path my Christmas ghost wants me to follow is dark.
I’ve got my tea cup no further than an arm’s length away. Day still hasn’t quite conquered the night. Outside my window snowflakes are floating in the air. They are so light. They aren’t falling, they float. I’m in the silent atmosphere of a snow globe. I haven’t turned on all the lights yet, only gloomy daylight from one single apartment window tries to rid the room of darkness. In a dark corner of the living room, where this poor excuse for daylight still can’t reach, is a pile of gifts. The tower of bright, glossy paper with snowflakes and bells and ribbons climbs higher and higher. The pile has been growing these last few weeks. There are gifts from relatives to us and gifts from us to relatives in this growing heap. So many gifts. Perhaps too many. Probably. And yet never enough.
This year I’ve tried to give away something very dear to me, a little of my time. I didn’t even realize until recently that time is my most precious. I’ve made some presents; made on my time. I’ve tried to find time to spend with everyone who wants to spend time with me before Christmas. I’ve promised myself that tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I’ll have all the time in the world. I’ll find the time, I’ll take the time and we’ll spend the time together.
I didn’t realize that time was the most precious I could give until it was too late to spend time with you. And yet some years had to pass before I realized that the darkness way back there had begun to stir. I keep trying to remember the last Christmas you were around. And when I remember, I want to forget. This wasn’t long before you left us, before you chose to leave this life. We spent Christmas at our parent’s house. We ate well. And then we ate some more. We opened gifts. We laughed. We spoke. I kept checking the time. I kept hurrying us, making sure we all wouldn’t stop opening gifts to exchange words or laughs for too long. We had to get through the pile, the mountain. We had to make it through each and every one in time. I had to catch the last train home. I had a train to catch! Those are the images and fragments of memories that keep playing on repeat when I remember that last Christmas. I didn’t know that would be my last Christmas memory with you starring. I didn’t realize how much regret checking the time would cause me. I couldn’t enjoy the moment; I was too busy planning the next. I’m sorry, little brother! I made the train. I’m so sorry. Melancholy clasps my heart. The best gift is to show my friends and family that they matter to me. The best gift is to show my family and friends that I care.
While I’m sitting here in the gloomy morning light in the far North with my hot beverage within reach, melancholy keeps brushing past me. Sometimes the dark shadow stops and looks me in the eye before it passes on. Shiny decorations, green and red tinsels and tiny lights wink at me from the corners of the room. I guess I should start a load of laundry. What should I wear tomorrow? The mountain in the corner has grown an inch or two since it last it caught my eye. I still have some gifts to wrap before tomorrow. All in due time. The best gift is to show my friends and family that they matter to me. The best gift is to show my family and friends that I care. I should go kiss my husband good morning and return to my snow globe.