The lights on the tree blink faster and furious.
They are the only lights in the house.
I lay on the couch with the blanket over me, warm.
I stare at the tree in complete and utter silence.
Blink, blink, blink, fade, blink, chase, blink, fade.
I try to turn off my mind, escape my own thoughts.
The lights, the tree, are peaceful.
I slowly look over all the ornaments that tell the story of my past.
The handmade ones of my grandmother,
The crocheted ones from Church,
The angel that has always been my favorite –
Blue, my favorite color, and watching over me.
With a magic wand in her hand as if she could make all right.
There’s a santa for those that want to believe.
There are bears and snowmen for the child in all of us.
There’s whimsy and fun adorning the tree.
There’s silver shining garland lighting up my night.
I remember when you put a tree together one branch at a time.
I remember buying my very first Christmas tree.
I hung ornaments even from my ceiling.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year,
but as I grew older it’s been a challenge to remember why.
I watch the children open their gifts with glee,
but the day ends as quickly as it came.
Everything you look forward to for months at a time,
suddenly vanished in a heartbeat.
I look over at my father, who has suffered so these last few years.
I see the pain through the half-hearted smile.
I stare up at the angel sitting gently on the top.
I close my eyes and wish again the same wish every time.
Surrounded by loved ones, but none of them really mine.
The world has blest me with so much, yet left me with such holes.
And the toughest of times seem to have come during my most prized holiday.
Breakups and loss, moves and separations.
Family strife and heartache that never quite heals.
Angry words I can’t forget.
Unfeeling letters of deep hatred.
And a death of a dear friend.
These have become some of my holiday memories.
I struggle to push them down and remember the good.
I love the lights, I love the tree.
I love the holiday, the meaning, the smiles on children’s faces.
I love the hope, the anticipation.
But I’ve lost the ability to believe that any of that good could be for me.
I’ve lost the belief that somewhere in it all there’s room to give a gift to me.
I’m so thankful for the people around me, their lives, literally.
I don’t feel I have a right to ask for more.
I hear others say they are depressed at the holiday.
And I get angry because they have it all.
And all I want is to not feel for a while, to let the tree take my pain.
Let the tree light my heart, be my smile, be my everything.
And some nights it works. The tree can make me whole.
It may be just an oversized decoration,
but it is the one thing from the holiday that isn’t broken.
It is the one memory that isn’t darkened.
It is the one piece that can always bring a smile.
I don’t know why, but the tree is my salvation.
She holds good memories, not bad.
She holds a peace I can’t find much in this world.
She lights a part of me, that desperately needs to see.
And for a short while, the tree completes me.
But my holiday is far from the Christmas’ I once dreamed up.
The hot cocoa and the warm holiday movies,
the holiday carols playing on the stereo.
With not a care in my heart, not a pain in anyone’s eyes.
I long for the innocence that the holiday used to provide.
I long to be the little girl on Christmas morning,
whose only care was what was waiting.
The little girl who sat on Santa’s lap and made a wish
and who knew one day it would come true.
But that little girl is not so little anymore
and the wish never did come true.
But on Christmas Eve in a Church of hundreds,
I sing the songs with faith and love true.
I believe in hope, faith, and all that is good.
I turn off the tree to go to bed and the lights still blink in my closed eyes.
I go to sleep one last night, with the lights shining my heart.
They give me hope I can’t explain.
I just wish it could last.