Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Preserving the Memories

I know it's totally cliché, but there's something about the Christmas Season that chokes me up. The holidays always bring back memories of those we've lost along the way, and it's hard not to remember the holidays we spent with them in the past. I think I always automatically revert back to my childhood Christmas memories when my grandfather was alive.

Ironically enough, he hated Christmas. He had a little book that he brought out each year and kept on one of the side tables in the living room that described the 101 worst things about Christmas. As much as my grandfather loved our family, he was an introvert and often needed time to himself to recharge (a trait I seem to have inherited from him). I remember our loud, obnoxious annual family party leading up to Christmas Eve (which my mom now hosts each year) held at my grandparents' house. My grandfather would always wander off into an empty part of the house so that he could enjoy the silence and drink his scotch and smoke his cigarettes in peace. 

Many times I'd make it my mission to track him down and sit beside him quietly, just enjoying the faraway music and laughter as our family members celebrated being together. I think I've taken that part of him, or rather that memory of him, and in my own way I recreate it each year. There's something comforting to me about being alone with my thoughts while listening to life happen in another room. The Christmas music my grandfather loved so much -- Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney -- always brings me back to that place, and creates a deep sense of inner peace in my bones.

Whether it be a beach vacation or a holiday party, there's something in me that always causes me to step back, appreciate the moment I'm living in, and listen from a distance as those I love the most enjoy themselves. For it's these moments that will eventually fade from our reality and turn into distant memories. The best way to preserve these memories within us is to soak them up in their entirety as they happen.

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