"Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me and for those who still truly believe."
I recently found out that my sister in law told my niece there is no Santa. She's 5. I'm not sure she's ever been allowed to have Santa. You see my sister in law is incredibly bitter. My brother committed suicide and left her with a 9 month old baby five years ago. Obviously, I have lots of unresolved feelings. I've been to two therapists and talked endlessly about it. However, I know my brother is at peace. Some people can't find peace on earth. He was haunted from the time he was a little child. I remember him complaining of terrible headaches and saying, "if I were a squirrel someone would shoot me to put me out of my misery." He went to see a psychiatrist. I wish we knew then what we do now. I wish people knew that depression was more than just being "sad." I think he would have had a whole other life. I tell people, I always knew Billie was tightly wound, I just never know how much.
Shortly after he died, my brother visited me in a dream. I was being chased by someone who wanted to kill me. I struggled and ran and ran and finally my brother came to me and told me to let them catch me, that death is a relief. That I would have peace and relief. A peace he could not find on earth.
I'm sitting here with Mollie watching Polar Express (we started out watching It's a Wonderful Life). It was really weird. I was watching this one part and suddenly my brother was sitting beside me and then he was gone. I don't really believe in ghosts, but I do think there is another dimension where others exist. Be they angels or guardians or whatever they may be. I mean who hasn't felt the present of a departed loved one at some time or another?
Anyway, so there was his brief presence as I thought of the magic of Christmas. There is a magic to Christmas. I hope there is a magic to this entire season for all, no matter their beliefs. But I thought of the magic of Christmas, here he was and then I thought of Emily (my niece). There was a message there. I want her to know the magic of Christmas. I'm afraid the cynicism of my sister in law has denied her the magic. I'm comforted that my sister in law is religious and so you may deny Santa, but hopefully not the miracle of Christmas.
So I was thinking of writing her a letter to talk to her about the magic of Christmas. Then I thought of sending her the book the Polar Express. It is an incredible book. Royce (a sort of faux cousin/aunt) sent it to us. Parker loved trains at the time and it was a such a wonderful tradition to read it. We love the movie too can't remember if some of the lines are from the book or the movie like--"Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."
So then I began to think. What is the magic of Christmas? My kids have asked me several times over the past few years if I believe in Santa. This is our first Christmas without the mythical Santa (although the Elf still seems to have magic). I always told them "I believe in the magic of Christmas." There is no mistake that things happen at this time of year for a reason. That people go the extra mile, give the extra. That it truly is better to give than it is to receive.
For me the magic is traditions and memories. I love watching the same movies and hearing the same songs. Looking at the Christmas tree and just sitting and looking is a daily activity. I could definitely use a "move the Elf" app because that's a new one on me. The tree, really I just love the tree. And even the hokey Folger's commercials. The kid comes home from college (turns out now he's in the Peace Corps in West Africa) and I cry. I love helping my kids choose gifts for others--be they relatives, friends or strangers. I've actually never been a "happy holidays" kind of gal. I'll say Merry Christmas because I don't believe that my beliefs offend anyone because their beliefs don't offend me. Please wish me a Happy Chanukah or Happy Kwanzaa or Assalamu alaikum-I'm happy to celebrate all.
"The true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart." -Santa The Polar Express
And so in the end I guess we have to find our own magic. But I will also do my best to help others find it too.
Peace on Earth. Pax. Shalom. Assalamu alaikum.
***** As I think about what I wrote last night, I'm afraid it sounds like suicide was the right thing for my brother. I just want to say suicide is NEVER the answer. He may be at peace, but he left Hell on earth for a lot of people. If you or anyone you know ever mentions anything close to killing themselves--make sure they talk to someone. Or talk to someone for them. I wish every single day that my brother had talked to someone. That he had let someone know that he felt the world would be better off without him. Because the world is not better off without him.*****