Dead batteries

Who among you likes to take down and put away holiday decorations? I didn’t think so.

I had thought the second Christmas of widowhood would be easier, but I was dead wrong. In many ways it was worse, since the shock had started to wear off and feelings and memories flamed more brightly.

I still could not bring myself to put up a tree last month, but did give it a lot of thought. My compromise was putting James’ candles in the windows and some lighted garland along the fireplace. I decided to wait until the candle batteries were dead and then put them away.

James certainly was not a typical male, if there is actually such a thing. He had stated several Christmases ago that he wanted candles for the windows for his Christmas present. I complied, and every year, I would carefully take them out of their bubble wrapping and load them with fresh D and C batteries and place them in the various windows.

As I pulled into the driveway in the evenings this past month, I noted the progress of which candles had bit the dust and stopped flickering. When it got down to the last one, I decided to put them away.

As I wrapped them up, my throat constricted. I cried over what I no longer had. I had these damn candles, but I no longer had the man who had wanted them. Although I am better most days, the ability of “things” to blindside us into a messy heap of sadness is humbling. The inability to extinguish the flame of memory and what once was is daunting and maddening, frustrating and aggravating. Like these fake candles, it brings no warmth.

I don’t want to grieve. I didn’t ask for it. I want it to leave, but I have the fear it will continue to overstay it’s unwelcome.

So I have made a pact with myself to work harder this year to focus on the many important consistencies in my life that recharge my soul: friends, family, a nice boss. The warm glow of positive and uplifting relationships.