Our 103 year-old family matriarch chose the early hours of Christmas Eve to take leave of us to her place of peace. We felt she possibly planned her timing in order to have all the family – three generations of cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles - together at Christmas. Her absence feels like a gaping hole. She was just always there. The atmosphere at the funeral service was of mixed emotions with several of her 22 great-grandchildren running and jumping around the coffin. One little girl was intrigued by a tassel of silk protruding from the top of the coffin, tugging at it in spite of her mother’s admonishing.
This morning a turtle dove wandered through our open kitchen door. When I entered, it flew up, startled, and flapped wildly against the window. I moved slowly towards it, cupped it in my hands and released it into the garden. I said to Mr. S., “Maybe that was a visit from your mother.” “Yeah,” he said, “she always liked our garden.”
My New Yorker son is here and together we went to the recycling center to unload the paper, plastic and bottle accumulation from the family dinner and gift exchange on Christmas Eve. Unbelievable – the tons of post-Christmas trash at the recycling center. There it was, live and direct, the results of our society’s massive consumer frenzy. A thought-provoking perspective on Christmas.