My apologies in advance if this isn't very funny. I can't always be funny. Sometimes I don't even try, and this post is going to be one of them.
Besides which, those who know me best know that I tend to be the funniest when things are actually not funny at all in real life. That whole finding the ability to laugh to get you though the hell life throws at you thing...
I have a unlighted, undecorated tree sitting in the wrong place in my house. It's a gorgeous tree, and I hope to get to moving and adorning it tonight. I do. Honest.
It's just that Christmas trees are one of those things for me. Those reminders.
I shared a picture of the tree on my Facebook page and people started asking where we'd purchased such a great tree. Sadly, my answer is Costco. Though we live in Colorado, the trees that you can go and cut down aren't really the kind of trees you associate with the holiday. They look more like Charlie Brown trees. We haven't done it since we moved here. We did when we lived in Southern California, and if that's not irony for you, I'm not sure what is.
We didn't go to a Christmas tree lot either. Mostly because I can't do it. I drive past them and the lump shows up in my throat and the tears well up in my eyes no matter how hard I try to force them back.
Christmas tree lots belong to my Dad.
When I was a kid, he volunteered time to work at them. Helped other families pick the perfect tree, helped other people make memories. Offered to take their pictures beside their trees. Wrapped them, tied them to the cars and sent them on their way. My Dad loved Christmas.
I would beg to come with him, and if it wasn't too cold, he'd let me tag along. I'd have to hold the saw and pull the netting around the ends. I loved hanging out with all the guys, listening to the crazy stories they told around the fire pit. I'm sure it was cold, but I don't remember that.
I remember the twinkle in his eye when he was out there.
For many, many years, he didn't want a real tree. In the fall of 2009, he was diagnosed with cancer and he rode to the ER in an ambulance Christmas morning. All he wanted was to go home. He didn't want to be in a hospital on Christmas. He promised himself that if he made it to the next one, he was getting a real tree.
He wanted a real tree, and he wanted us to come home.
We went home, and he got that real tree again. 2010. It was his last Christmas.
We all knew it would be. I fought back tears the entire time I was taking the ornaments off that tree. Sweeping up the needles seemed so cathartic. This is what he wanted, and we'd given it to him.
When you're in a moment that you already know is bittersweet, it hurts just a bit more.
So, my perfect tree sits this year.
I will move it and put the lights on and decorate it. I will.
I will swallow the lump in my throat and fight back the tears. I will.
Damn you, cancer.
One of my favorite shows is Parenthood, and I fall in love with it a little bit more every week even if it also rips my heart out a little each time. If you aren't watching this show, you should be. The preview for next week's episode shows Christina fighting for her life in the ICU on Christmas. I'm sure there are those who will say that the show is just doing it for ratings, that they are pandering to people's emotions about the holiday.
There really are people fighting for their lives in hospitals on Christmas morning, and those of us who've been there know it.
Cancer, the evil bastard it is, doesn't care what the calendar says.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a tree to move.
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