another Christmas

how could this be the second Christmas without you here?  doesn’t seem possible.  this year seems to hurt more … the pain is deeper in my heart and in my gut; the heart is heavier; the memories more tearful.

I didn’t attend the city commemorative with the reading of the names for each memorial tree.  I didn’t want to hear a stranger just read your name with a long list of other names.  it is a nice enough gesture, but they don’t know you.  they just know your name and tree number.  they don’t know how you survived a horrible childhood with drunken parents and regular beatings – physical and emotional.  they don’t know how money was spent on liquor and cigarettes instead of shoes with no holes and new school supplies.

they don’t know how you pushed yourself through school without family support; how your mother let you drop out of high school and carelessly signed papers allowing you to join the Army at age seventeen and at the height of the Vietnam war.  they don’t know our love story and our life story.  they don’t know the love you have for your boys and how the worst family betrayal ever literally weighed on your heart and brought you to your knees in the throes of depression.

they don’t know how the love for your grandchildren filled your heart with so much joy that it sometimes turned into liquid and fell from your beautiful blue eyes.  they don’t know that a child who never heard the words “i love you” from his parents never failed to end a conversation with his own children with those exact words.

they don’t know this man who has enveloped my heart with love and friendship and loyalty and care.  they don’t know the enormous open wound in my heart and how it gushes hurt every day and all day.  they don’t know.tree