Family: December brings with it joy, sadness, love and lots of memories

Family: December brings with it joy, sadness, love and lots of memories

A long time ago when I was young like summer when it first comes around and the leaves are gentle and tender and new, my second child, a baby girl, was born.

She was a December baby.

And in that year and actually still, she truly is for me, the spirit of Christmas and my star on the tree.

Since that time, the family tree has grown, and a couple of those branches sprang forward with new life in December. Viola! Two grandchildren, a boy and a girl, also December children.

And, of course, they, too, for me, are the spirit of Christmas and the star on the tree.

It is quite fun to celebrate these December birthdays.

There is, of course, always the dilemma of gifts. All these birthday presents and then, a few days later, Christmas presents and then for the rest of the year, nothing.

How fair is that?

And then there is the wrapping paper. I don’t know how many times these December babies receive their presents wrapped in Christmas wrap.

I was thinking about how joyous it is to experience the joy of births in the month of December when we celebrate the age old Biblical story of the birth of baby Jesus in the manger.

It is easy to embrace Christmas then. It is so easy to relish all it has to offer; the fun, the parties, the festivities, the good food, the concerts and the music and all the other sweet moments in time that are there for each and every one of us.

Yes, it’s wonderful, isn’t it, when life hands us joy, gift wrapped and tied with pretty ribbons, to be opened in December.

But, even as the lights flicker their message of good cheer and happiness, we all know, only too well, that no one, even during the month of December is exempt from sadness, loss, worry and fear.

Just the other day I received a heartbreaking message from a very dear friend that her husband’s father had passed away.

The memories I had of this dear man immediately flashed through my mind and I also thought of the many times his son had sat at our table and recounted stories of his dad. I wonder if, perhaps, in the telling of those stories of courage and endurance and love, we were all made better people.

And, even as I joined the busy throng of shoppers at a gaily decorated mall, where Christmas fairly shouted from the roof tops, I felt the loss that family is now feeling, and silently mourned with them.

Not so many years ago, my beloved brother passed away just days before Christmas.

When I heard the news, my mind recoiled from the fact and my brain refused to accept the words as the truth. I was sure it wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true.

My brother loved Christmas.

I remember him wanting to go out and look on the roof to see if Santa’s reindeer had left footprints.

Of course, he was much younger then. Well, actually not that much younger.

But, of course, the news of his death was true and, heartbreaking as it was, I needed to face the fact he would not live to see another Christmas. We had already lost one brother, whose birthday happened to be on Christmas Day.

Needless to say, it was a sad, sad time.

But every year as Christmas rolls around, memories of my brothers remain with me; simple, happy and good memories. You can’t buy those memories and you certainly can’t bring the people who live in them back, but still, you can make them come alive in your head. And you can smile, quietly, to yourself and no one will every know you are remembering a simple star made out of tinfoil and the boy who made it with you, or the absolute delight of having brothers around at Christmas to tease you and love you and make sure you believe in Santa for ever and ever.

And even though they are all gone now, perhaps it is because of them and the beautiful star we created so very long ago and the other memories we created when we were all but children that the magic and joy of the holiday season remains with me like a special gift that I can re-open every year.

And, I’m sure that it is because of them that I can truly share in the sadness and loss of those who are grieving, even as the Christmas bells ring out glad tidings of comfort and joy!

Just Posted

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta’s declining COVID-19 numbers are a positive sign for the province. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer down to 634 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone down to 2,054 active cases

Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Rylan Thiessen (26) guards the front of the net as goalie Connor Unger makes a save on Winnipeg Ice forward Skyler Bruce during a Western Hockey League game on April 14 at the Brandt Centre in Regina. Brandon won 5-3. (Keith Hershmiller Photography)
Two big trades provide stability for Red Deer Rebels

All Connor Ungar wanted was an opportunity and he’s finally found it.… Continue reading

(Screenshot).
Seven central Alberta charities benefit from community foundation grants

Seven central Alberta charities have received grants from the Red Deer and… Continue reading

Red Deer Gun Show organizer, Harold Drok, is concerned $1 fee from each ticket sale will go to Westerner Park once shows can be restarted there. This new policy replaces parking fees which will be waived for future Westerner Park events. (Black Press file photo)
Event organizer concerned about Westerner Park’s new parking fee model

A show organizer is concerned this could impact proceeds

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
Organizers of central Alberta anti-lockdown rodeo plead not guilty

Ty and Gail Northcott charged under the Public Health Act

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

(CPAC)
Trudeau says he knew about investigation into general overseeing vaccines weeks ago

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he learned weeks ago that… Continue reading

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Canadians can drive to U.S. for COVID-19 vax and avoid quarantine, Ottawa confirms

TORONTO — Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Quebec can modify part of the Canadian Constitution unilaterally: Trudeau

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Quebec can unilaterally modify part… Continue reading

In this Thursday, April 29, 2021, file photo, giant bucket-wheel excavators extract coal at the controversial Garzweiler surface coal mine near Jackerath, West Germany. Canadian environmentalists are welcoming a report from the International Energy Agency that says new fossil fuel investment must end if the world is to meet its climate goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Martin Meissner
Canadian environmentalists happy with International Energy Agency report

Environmentalists say a report from the International Energy Agency that concludes investment… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ceasefire needed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict to avoid loss of more civilians: PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is calling for a… Continue reading

A forest fire burns late into the evening northeast of Prince Albert, Sask., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
Saskatchewan wildfire grows, forcing evacuations in the area to expand

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — Dry conditions and strong winds caused a large… Continue reading

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Tam hopeful for summer even as Canada hits grim death milestone in COVID-19 pandemic

OTTAWA — Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she expects… Continue reading

Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alex Pantling/Pool via AP
Canadian teenager Daniel Jebbison turns heads with Premier League goal

Jebbison, 17, is the youngest player in Premier League history to score on his first start in England’s top tier

Most Read