I sat next to my mother’s friend at Thanksgiving dinner this year. She’s a lovely woman struggling through an absolutely awful divorce.
Navigating her way through the backwash of her husband’s abandonment over the past year has forced her to toss many of the relics of her old life overboard. With a tear in her eye she shared her love of the holidays and the joy she felt displaying her collection of nutcrackers; she got rid of all 49 of them.
I glanced across the table at my mother who this year is heading into her first Christmas without her husband who passed away in February. I remember her telling me that she was not going put up a tree this year..and she hasn’t. But let me tell you, she has “put up” everything but.. Her home looks like a winter wonderland and many of the decorations are brand spanking new.
As sad as it is to let go of 49 nutcrackers, or not put up a tree, sometimes it’s just better for our souls to release the old ways with all of the accompanying emotional weight and create something completely different. And while there’s clearly no going back to “what was” for either my mom or her friend, that certainly doesn’t mean they’re condemned to living life in the shadow of their memories.
Sometimes, oftentimes, it’s just not possible to happily carry on traditions of old..not for yourself or even for those you love.
The reason for Christmas is and always will be.
49 nutcrackers or not.