It sat in a block on the sideboard, heavy and foreign.
My grandmother’s cerulean eyes sparkled as I peeled off my layers.
“I have so many fun things planned for us,” she said.
She always did.
“First we melt this big block of wax…”
Her excitement simply couldn’t be contained.
“Then, we’ll WHIP it! With the hand mixer!”
There in her entryway, these moments… our moments together… were all that mattered.
To both of us.
Coat, complete with mittens, connected by a long string that ran through the sleeves so that I wouldn’t lose them.
“And once it’s all fluffy, we’ll cover this form with it!”
Those eyes connecting with mine, her joy was just too big for her.
“Before it dries, we’ll sprinkle it with GLITTER! It will be a yule log for the table!”
This is how our winter weekends began. Yule log or Christmas trees made from last season’s J.C. Penny catalog.
The weekends stretched before us, just waiting to be filled with projects and the kind of love that filled her house so full that I’m certain it leaked from beneath the doors and warmed the outside.
This is my second Christmas season without her.
Last year, grief turned everything to a muddy gray. The lights, the songs, the joy of Christmas were heavy and intrusive and my mere existance was set to auto pilot.
I thought I understood grief. I’ve lived a lifetime without my father. Grief has always occupied a space inside me that’s low and throbbing. My grief there from so early on, like a ring deep within a tree.
But this. This is different. This guts me. There’s a stabbing pain that jars me when I least expect it.
When I see the perfect chunky silver glitter that I just know would glisten perfectly on whipped wax. Or when that Restoration Hardware tome cries out to be turned into a tree. In an instant, the pain in my chest is so intense that I have to sit down. And remember to breathe.
I thought I knew grief.
I thought it would fade and live alongside my grief over losing my father.
I suspect I was wrong.
Perhaps grief is like a snowflake. Each loss different from the next. Each individual crystal so amazingly unique.