Angels in the Attic

“[Treasures in Heaven] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

By Julie Wright

Christmas is over at our house.  As quickly as the season was sprung upon us, I was even quicker in taking it down.  I would have made Wal-Mart proud.  I didn’t replace my tree and ornaments with chocolate candy and teddy bears for Valentine’s Day, but my stuff is wrapped, packed and safely up in the attic.

Things are different being a re-married widow.  We don’t shop for a real tree since the new hubby has allergies.  Not a big deal, our fake one looked quite nice.  We didn’t do much shopping together due to our schedules and I was okay with that too. We attended the Christmas Eve service and had his family over Christmas day and it was all nice.  It was just different.  In some ways it made me a tad sentimental about the way things “used” to be, while being okay with the way things are now.

It was strange, but good.

I was happy, but sad.

The same, but different.

I wasn’t affected as much as I had imagined in my mind that I would be until I started to put things away.  Take my family of four fluffy and happy snowmen for example.  While there are “four” in our new family, it was given to me with my first husband.  I felt a tad awkward about it, but I love those fluffy snowmen.  Our sign that hung on our front door as “The Reed Family” had to be repainted and changed to the “Reed-Wright Family.” I was okay with it, but the kids found it awkward.  My entire Willow Tree nativity sets (yes, I have a problem and need a 12 step program for my Willow Tree obsession) made my first husband cringe.  He didn’t care for my “faceless people.”  He couldn’t relate to the feelings and emotions drummed up from your imagination while looking at them, while my new hubby thinks they are “neat.”  But, then I got to the Christmas tree.

The ornaments.

Lots and lots of ornaments tied to…

lots and lots of memories.

As I removed each one and placed them in their respective pile to wrap them before storage, I started to get flooded with memories and moments from the past.  I held our “First Christmas Together” ornament and tears just flowed.  I saw the ornament for redneck fishing and more tears came.  I held the ornament his mom painstakingly made with ribbon and pins and cried some more.   I was so torn with them.  Do I keep putting them up year after year for the kids?  He was and always will be their daddy after all.  Do I put them away and save them for when the kids are on their own and maybe want them? I just kept making my piles of ornaments.

Then the bombs came.  The two glass ornaments etched with the names and dates of my first husband and father-in law sent to us from the funeral home, of all places.  I remembered when I got them that first numb Christmas in 2009.  Big, stinging, heart wrenching tears slightly clouded my vision, but not my memory.

Taking them out of the black, velvety pouches.

Seeing the gold lettering.

Reading the inscriptions.

Tracing my fingers over the etched angels.

Barely able to hang them on the tree because my hands were shaking so much.

Our angels.  Our two deposits in heaven.

I paused.  I smiled.  I remembered.  And you know what?

It was okay.  It was good.  It was healing.  It was hope-filled.

While my “angels are in the attic”, they will forever be in my heart.  Love doesn’t end in death.  Jesus proved that to us through his resurrection power.  Newly widowed, a seasoned widow, a re-married widow doesn’t truly matter.  All that really mattered was what got us to this place to begin with.  Love.

Take heart my friends, each holiday and each memory makes you stronger and sets you on a path of healing and promise.  So, we will carry on.  Heads held high until the next holiday comes with new waves of remembrance, tears, and smiles because love doesn’t end in death…it lives forever.

12 replies
  1. Jamie Parfitt
    Jamie Parfitt says:

    For me today, it was reading Proverbs 25. Our church spent a whole year memorizing select verses from Proverbs and several throughout the year came from chapter 25. As I kept getting to another one, I felt like saying, “Hey, Ken, can you finish this one? I still remember it!” I remembered how I bought him a set of expensive colored pencils so he could make his memory helps: flash cards with a picture that he drew on one side to match the picture in the children’s coloring books. The other side had the verse and a small portion of the larger picture. Tears filled my eyes as I missed the man who loved the Bible, loved the Lord, and loved me. I miss that love. I miss all those loves. Again I prayed: Lord, help me wait. I fully trust that you will bring someone to me. Help me wait for him.

  2. nancy
    nancy says:

    Beautiful, Julie. I think any significant day in a widow’s life will always be, on some level, a jumbled up mixture of bittersweet, happy, wistful, sad, and grateful. In our house, there was more laughter than tears this holiday…and I hope that is a continuing trend.

    Your “angels” are watching over you all. I just know it.

  3. Linda Rich
    Linda Rich says:

    Very beautifully shared Julie. Was my first Christmas in 37 years without John, cancer moved him into eternity in March.Many family members came to be with me, my nephews and neice took out all my decorations (my husband had them nicely labeled in boxes from the year before, I feel he did that knowing he would not be with me for the next Christmas).He always tried to make my life easier. This holiday season was very busy with so many folks visiting, I didn’t have much time to feel sad if i had wanted to.I felt his presence the whole time. We had a wonderful memorial together looking at pictures and talking about what each family member missed most not having John with us. Was special to hear that from everyone. The Lord is so good to me, in every detail. Do not know what the future holds for me but I know who holds my future.

    • Julie
      Julie says:

      My heart goes out to you, Linda. My hubby’s name was John too. Those first holidays are hard. I remember being numb. Feeling like I was standing on the sidelines watching a movie of my life that I was “in” but not really in. I’m so glad that God used your family and friends to share and remember together all the wonderful things about your husband. I’m sure you felt his presence in a mighty way. Keep trusting God to carry you into the future…one day at a time.

  4. LuAnn
    LuAnn says:

    Such tender words for such tender memories. I, too, weep and laugh in the same breath. My 13-year-old daughter always asks me if I’d rather be a woman or a man and I tell her…I’d rather be a woman because we can cry in public and hug anyone we want to! Thank you for your Christmas hug today. I certainly needed it.

    • Julie
      Julie says:

      It is funny how God wired us women to cry, laugh and everything in between all at the same time! I’m with you…being a woman is the way to go…hugs, crying, and all those other fun things we can do at once. You are certainly welcome for the Christmas hug and I pray that your new year is filled with lots of happy memories too!

  5. Phyllis
    Phyllis says:

    Thank you Julie, for your transparency and your ministry. The holidays are times of memories … some happy and some sad … and we need to alow both to be a part of us. You inspire us to allow that and God does the rest : )
    In Him, Phyllis

    • Julie
      Julie says:

      Lisa, Jodi, and Phyllis,

      Thank you all so much for your friendship and warm words. I’m so honored to call you my friends and can’t tell you how much your prayers, support, love and more has helped me along my journey of healing. I’m so grateful and humbled that God can use my story, pain and healing to comfort others. To Him be the glory all the way!

  6. Jodi clark
    Jodi clark says:

    That was so beautiful and nicely written. It’s so neat to see your strength and hope still shining through the tears and pain. Thank you for sharing this Julie! God bless you!

  7. Lisa Stepanick
    Lisa Stepanick says:

    Such beautiful sentiment in sharing your feelings… have helped, and will continue to help others heal, as they read your thoughtful words. You are an amazing gift to everyone, Julie! xo

  8. Kit
    Kit says:

    Julie, what a beautiful way to look at these ornaments. You’ve honored both the past and the present Christmases with your love.

    • Julie
      Julie says:

      Thank you Kit. Honoring the past and the present wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be when I kept Christ in the center. I’m grateful for your support and friendship.

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