The holidays are difficult times for many people. I couldn’t fully grasp that until last year going through our first holiday season without Shayna. I can’t even remember Thanksgiving 2015. My memory of Christmas is just about as bad. I know we went to a movie on Christmas Day, but I don’t know what we saw. I didn’t take any pictures. I don’t want to remember. Christmas is upon us once again. It’s two weeks away. I’m participating only as much as I have to. Before the girls were born,I was pretty much done with the hassle of Christmas anyway. Once they were here, buying for them, seeing their excitement, getting up early to put together their toys, all of that brought the magic back. But, even before Shayna passed over, that magic was beginning to fade as they got older, started sleeping in, and stopped asking for toys. Now it’s gone completely. Christmas? Bah humbug.
It’s especially important this time of year, when people are celebrating famiy and friends and a big part of our family isn’t here with us for me to find a way to deal with all of the celebration when I don’t feel like celebrating. If I focus on the small picture, it’s too painful. I have to let go of the material and focus on the spiritual.
I am in a place where I have to focus on the big picture or I’ll be bitter. The material is ephemereal. The material things that I hold onto, including my own body, are temporal. They are of no real substance. They only exist because of spirit/consciousnes/thought. They are sustained by spirit. The material rests on the spiritual. If the spiritual were to go away, the material would disaappear- literally. What lasts is love. The only thing that is real here is love and relationships.
Before Shayna transitioned, I had an epiphany standing on the deck on evening. Out of the blue it occurred to me that my house would outlast me. One day, someone else would be standing on the deck that I built (well contracted anyway) and that person wouldn’t even think of me, wouldn’t even know who I am. At first, I got a bit angry. Possessivenss set in. I put a lot into this house. We finished the basement. We remodeled the kitchen. We remodeled our bathroom. And one day, I won’t be here to enjoy what I’ve done? The house seemed more permanent than I am. I look at the trees I’ve planted in the yard. They will be here after I’m gone? From a material perspective, the only one most of us know, the truth is that we exist for only a short while. We’re in and we’re out. Gone.
This the way of the world. All we know is the material. We don’t remember what is was like where we came from. So, we don’t know where we are going. I’m starting to get a glimpse of it. The memories are stirring. But, it’s like Pink Floyd says in “Comfortably Numb”. It’s a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye. It comes and it goes. I sit in meditation and I try to tune into it.
This morning, I decide to clean out my dresser. I had socks in there that I moved here in 1997. I had clothes in there that I haven’t worn in nearly 20 years. I kept holding onto those things. I tend to do that. I don’t want to let things go. In my dresser are Glad bags with the baby teeth the girls lost with dates on them. Even then, I knew the time was fleeting. Holding onto their baby teeth was a futile attempt to keep them little forever. I don’t know what I planned to do with them. It’s not like I ever pull them out and look at them. I only see them when I’m cleaning out the drawers. I suppose I’ll hold onto them, in case Kayla wants them one day. But, I was ruthless about cleaning out the dresser. It only has five drawers. They were pretty full. By the time I finished everything could fit into about 2-½ drawers. It’s spread out a little just for better organizaiotn, but the top drawer is just about completely empty. All it has is a few mementos. Anything that will no longer serve me in the time I have left here is gone. Two garbage bags full off to charity to serve someone else.
The big picture is this. Time here is fleeting. That sounds like bad news at first. It’s not. I came here for a season and for a reason. This is not my Home. There are enjoyable things about being here, but clinging to this place or anything in it only causes pain when it is inevitably ripped away. Focusing on the big picture is essential for me. This will be another Christmas without having Shayna here in the physical. But, there is a reason I am supposed to be here and I will do what it is I’m supposed to do. And once, this Christmas is over, it’ll be one less I have to go through. That’s what I’ll be celebrating on New Year’s Day, the passing of one more year here.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the things of the world. I do it every single day. Trying to hold onto it is difficult because being in the world makes it very tempting to be of the world. But, being of the world only brings pain. I currently have a frail grasp of the big picture, but it’s growing more firm all the time.