““[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.
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.