This will be our first holiday season since my brother died, and I know my mom is dreading it.
If only we’d had one last season, she says - one where COVID hadn’t kept us apart.
And she’s right. Those happy memories, along with so much else, were stolen by the pandemic.
So this year, and others to come, won’t be the same. There will be an empty chair at the table. All of the old traditions will feel not quite right, with one of us missing.
Christmas Eve, particularly, will be hard, as it was one of my brother’s favorites. I can still see him sitting at my parents’ counter, beaming, awaiting his pasta and lobster.
Being an early shopper, I already had gifts tucked away for him. Just seeing them this week broke my heart a little.
But I’m trying to keep another image in mind this season, one a colleague shared years ago, after losing her mother.
With so many of her family members in heaven, she said, heaven seemed like a friendlier place.
That’s the image I’m holding onto this holiday season. I’m picturing my Nan and Pop - she turning out a beautifully browned turkey that Pop will carve into picture-perfect slices, her fluffy mashed potatoes and homemade gravy round out her offerings.
My Uncle Santo will put out a pre-dinner spread, with Italian cheeses and meats, and my Aunt Gaga will be mixing up a big batch of iced tea.
C.C. will be smoking up some meat in his smoker, and Grandma will have a plate of her strufoli, sweet with honey.
Aunt Emily will have her homemade cranberry relish, crescent cookies and the creamiest pumpkin pie you’ve ever tasted.
Grandpa will be pouring the wine, and Uncle Frankie will be telling funny stories to make everyone laugh.
There will be beloved cats and dogs and even more aunts and uncles gathered around the table, telling stories of the old country and hunting trips and the fish that got away.
The air will be filled with cigar smoke and laughter, memories and love.
It won’t be the same not having them here, but imagining them all together is a comfort.
Laura Dolce can be reached at [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: La Dolce Vita: A different sort of holiday feeling
Source : https://news.yahoo.com/la-dolce-vita-different-sort-160231147.html460