Cards, Reflection & Renewed Hope

th287EENOVThis time of year, the pace of life seems to increase as the light decreases. By winter solstice, the longest night of the year, which is this Friday, the magic and the reality of the season will be in full force. Then the light will increase again by two minutes or so a day until June when the longest day will bring its own magic.  


In Wisconsin, these late fall days vacillate between crisp with brilliant blue skies and more dower, damp days filled with shades of gray that inevitably lead to introspection. Today is one of those gray days. Yesterday was filled with sun and relatively warm temperatures at 37 degrees. Yesterday my son and I finished his annual Christmas letter—a tradition I started before he was born and have continued every year since. This was the first year he, at 19, wanted to add more than a few bullet points. I love doing the letter, even when our year in review has been filled with loss. This year it was simply filled with joy, celebration, and a boat (a really big cruise-ship-like boat) load of work.  

The letter was fun to create.  

thV6P0A1FRFilling in the addresses for the cards, less so. Hence the introspection.  

I filled in 72 addresses today, before I sat down to write this. There are still a few more to do, but those require handwritten letters to be sent overseas. I’ll do those tomorrow. They won’t arrive for Christmas, but they will be welcome as we celebrate Hogmanay—The New Year. I am grateful for each and every card I am able to send. What is hard is viewing all the addresses of the friends, family and loved ones who can no longer receive Christmas cards. I know I can reach them far more quickly—and without a stamp—simply by thinking of them, sending my love and sharing my innermost thoughts. I can do that, but it still makes me more melancholy, than I should be at this time when there are so many Blessings all around. It’s not just the gray of the day, but the gray of spirit that settles for a while over the shoulders, like a cashmere shawl, light, soft, comforting even, when the chill sets in. I never keep it on for long. Just long enough for the quiet, gentle, acceptance that comes after the initial constriction of my heart seeing the line crossed through yet another name.  

That’s okay. More than okay. That feeling tells me how lucky I am to have people who matter to me in my life now, and people who have mattered who will live inside me until the day I become another address with a line through it.  

As Christmas draws closer, I will keep all those who have gone before in my mind and in my heart. We will raise a glass to them at dinner, like we do at every Thanksgiving and every Halloween. And with every ornament that we unwrap to put on the tree from grandparents, parents, and friends, we will smile and be thankful for all they have done to shape who we are.  

This Christmas is filled with new additions to our family, new Blessings that close out this year and lead us into the next with joy and much love. th

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate. Happy Yule to everyone. May this season fill your hearts with love. May you experience the joy of memory and none of its sadness. May your new year be filled with health, happiness and every Blessing. 


8 thoughts on “Cards, Reflection & Renewed Hope

    • Blessing to you too, Mary! This one was oddly difficult, perhaps it’s the fact that my children are growing into fine adults and soon I’ll have entries for the myriad places they’ve moved as well.

      Happy New Year!


  1. I have some of those thoughts as I do Christmas cards each year. Which ones will be returned because that person is no longer with us? Some family and friends are so far away that I only know of their passing by the return of a card.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps it’s the reflective time of year enhancing the fact that we don’t always know where those who have played meaningful roles in our lives have ended up, or maybe we just miss them.

      On the plus side, we do get to revisit memories that make us smile with every card we write. That is a great gift.

      Hope your Christmas was beautiful. Happy New Year, Jill!


  2. Every year for the longest of time, we would receive a Christmas card from an unknown older couple in NC. Beautiful cards with pleasant little notes tucked inside. The odd thing was I wrote back when it first happened and said that I was not the person the card was addressed to, but I was living at that address and no one had ever lived at my address by that name. The cards kept coming. The handwritten script was similar to many folks over a certain age and the writing was a wee bit shaky. One year the card said that the husband had died. I found myself in tears. Then about two years ago, the cards stopped. My stranger in NC probably joined her husband. I know it sounds silly, but the constant string of cards that never stopped was rather endearing because each was filled with love. Who would ever dream that an errant Christmas card could have such an impact?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s beautiful, E.

      Something to hold in your heart always. Merry Christmas, E.

      Happy New Year! May this one bring unexpected, yet welcome, gifts to your door.


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