The topic for the December 20th installment of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Thomas MacEntee is: "Christmas and Deceased Relatives. Did your family visit the cemetery at Christmas? How did your family honor deceased family members at Christmas?"
My family does not have a tradition of "honoring" deceased family members at Christmas, though I think that they are in our thoughts quite often. And if their name should happen to be mentioned by someone it usually sets off a rash of stories, especially if my mother and her siblings are present. I do take my mother to the cemeteries (they are in two different cemeteries) on or near Memorial Day to visit the graves of her parents and grandparents.
My father passed away on December 18, 1995 and the best thing that came out of that was that my brother came from Minnesota and my sister from Florida. It was the last time that the four of us kids were all together. And now that she has passed away too, well, it just won't happen again. It saddens me to think of her. I've been scanning pictures from my mother's photo albums and that has also brought back some memories of other family members that are no longer here with us, and perhaps a bit of melancholy as well.
My grandfather, who didn't talk much or show affection very often, but liked to have family around him. My Uncle Bob who had a very wry sense of humor. He didn't talk much either, but when he did, everyone listened. He loved to tell jokes that were a bit off-color. They weren't outright "dirty" jokes but the implication was there. Uncle Walt, who would do anything for anyone, if he possibly could. He was a healer too, his hands were blessed with a special touch that helped several family members over the years, myself included. My grandmother, who defied death and lived five years longer than expected (after being given 6 months to live). She tried so hard those last few years to get us all together at least once a year. Aunt Jane, grandma's sister, who's most memorable piece of advice to us all was that "You can marry for money, as well as love". LOL. She always said her first marriage was for love and the second was for money. But she was only married to her first husband for 12 years while she was married to Uncle Charley for over 30.
Isn't it amazing how we tend to think of the good times and the favorable aspects of their personalities? I don't think we should forget that there are always two sides to a coin, but perhaps it is best that we remember the good side most often!