I don’t know about you but one of my favorite moments during the Christmas holiday is right after the lights are on the tree, and that’s it. There’s nothing else, just lights. I get lost in that moment and always have. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the ornaments and garland or ribbon that is added, but there has just always been something about the in-between moment.
Maybe it is the simplicity of it all that speaks to me. With only the lights, you can really see what makes the tree so special.
Maybe it is much more complicated than all of that; maybe it isn’t. This moment happens regardless of whether the tree is real or artificial. I feel that it is more about what the tree represents. If you research the origin of the Christmas tree, you will find a plethora of stories, based upon different regions of the world. They all have something in common, though. Believe me, I know. I got on a kick one year about knowing the origins of holiday traditions. Needless to say, it was prior to having children (when I had a little bit more down time).
The person or community that began their tradition did so because they associated the tree with something of greatness.
Not all cultures even use the same type of tree for a Christmas tree. Rooted in these stories are grand tales of miracles or miraculous events occurring all of the while with a simple, unassuming tree in the center of it.
Regardless of it you have one just because that’s just what you do or if you have one for a deeper meaning, you can’t deny the feeling it brings you.
So what does all of this tree rambling have to do with my family, my children, my heart? EVERYTHING. My oldest has his own tree, as I did growing up. It is something he looks forward to putting out as soon as Halloween is over. The youngest, well he’s 2, so he is rocking the Charlie Brown tree, simple yet very meaningful. Wyatt doesn’t have a Christmas tree at our house, typically. He does, however, have one at the cemetery. My hope is that all of my boys develop a love for the simple but powerful pieces in this life. We’re all always looking for the “next big thing” out there. The truth is that what matters most is small in stature, in the details, will fade into the background unless called out.
Ironically enough, a tree is the symbol that we use to represent Wyatt. It isn’t a Christmas tree, but it’s a tree. Let me be really clear about something; I’m not a tree person. I couldn’t tell you one from another unless they have obvious features such as pine needles, but I couldn’t tell you the different types of pines. Certain trees began to catch my attention months after Wyatt’s passing. It isn’t always the same types of trees, but every so often, I’m caught off guard by one. Trees are notoriously (and in our case, ironically) known for being associated with life.
Is it bizarre that my child that died speaks to me through an object that typically symbolizes life?
Yes. It is. So, here is my rationale for something that truly has no logic behind it. I never thought much of trees before. Sure, I knew that they were there. I’ve always known their function for the world around them but never really thought much about it. Before Wyatt, I knew that not all babies went home with their parents. I always thought that it was sad situation, but truly never dedicated a whole lot of time to it. ( Now, it is my life.) I have this blog because of it. I help with fundraisers for various causes related to prenatal and early infancy death. I write for an online magazine about child loss. See the connection?
Second, he was alive, and he IS alive in heaven. I know that some may dispute the second part to that point, but it is what I believe. A dead tree can continue to stand for a long time. Usually the impact a tree makes once it dies is negative, but I’m choosing for his death to not be full of negatives.
Is it really all that complex and complicated?
Maybe my logic makes perfect sense to you, or maybe you think that I’m just telling myself something because I want to believe that he is still with me because the thought that “he left and that’s it” is just too unbearable for me to take. Honestly, I’ll take either, because either way, I get to feel his presence. I do truly believe, though, that when you die there is still more for you. Your earthly journey is done but not your ever after.
Find those moments this holiday season and throughout the entire year that cause you to pause. Really pause. It is often in those brief minutes that we discover something so magnificent in something so simple. With Love- Heather