As I start to unwind from the chaotic fun of the holidays and perhaps collect my thoughts into some sort of cohesive piece of writing, I keep returning to thoughts of my mother.
A few days before Christmas, I was honored to have a brief piece I wrote about my mom published on Mothers Always Write: Snow Angels.
In it, I touch upon memories of the first Christmas without my mother. It was only two months after she passed away, and my family and I were still raw with emotion as we attended Christmas Eve mass and then visited her grave behind the church.
I still remember the snow, the cold, the singing, and the tears that filled the cemetery.
But, I also remember the laughter.
As we sang and cried and shivered, the road that wound through the cemetery quickly became slick with snow. We climbed into my brother-in-law’s car and braced ourselves as he cautiously navigated the narrow paved driveway. The car fishtailed its way through the cemetery, barely missing gravestones and trees. For a moment, I thought we were stuck – stuck in a cemetery on Christmas Eve.
My sister and I laughed nervously.
As the tires whirred and attempted to gain traction, I closed my eyes. Since my mother’s death, I also seemed to be spinning and spinning, not going anywhere. It was hard to gain traction in a world without my mom.
Eventually, the car lurched up the hill, and we slowly drove back home. Over tea and Christmas cookies, we marveled at the magic of snow on Christmas (not always the case in southern Pennsylvania), and we laughed at the very idea of getting stuck in a graveyard on Christmas Eve. We all readily agreed that this was the type of situation my mother would have found humorous.
The laughter we shared brought real smiles to our faces on a night that we were all desperately pretending was not so difficult.
Over the years, I still occasionally slip and slide and sometimes even lose traction. However, I’ve learned to focus on those small moments of unexpected laughter because those are the moments that heal. Those are the moments that bring a smile to my face when I think of that difficult Christmas Eve so long ago.