The Christmas Corsage
Our house is decorated inside and out during Christmas time. My heart is full of joy when I open the storage boxes and see my old familiar decorations just waiting to be loved and cherished. There are so many ornaments on our Christmas tree that have special meaning because wherever we go, we purchase an ornament from that location. A red lobster from Maine, bear paw from Yosemite, cable car from San Fransisco…you get the picture. But, there is one decoration on the tree that is above the rest, a simple silk Christmas corsage with Poinsettia flowers and a candy cane.
For as long as I can remember, my Daddy always loved to decorate for Christmas. Not until I was grown with a family of my own, did he show me a silk, red Poinsettia corsage that lay on one of the Christmas tree branches. He told me that my mother was in the hospital her last Christmas and one of the nurses had brought her the corsage and laid it on her pillow, as a token of the season. She died that January, exactly one month after Christmas and from that time on, my Dad would place the corsage on the tree in her memory.
I’m not sure why he never shared that story before then. As was his way, he held things in, especially about my mother. Because my mother died so young, only thirty-three years old, his love and grief mingled too close to his heart, he feared the emotions that threatened to break him. He could little afford to let his guard down with two young children to raise alone.
After my dad passed away, my brother and I divided his ornaments between us, and I received the corsage. Every year as I place it on our tree, I whisper my mother’s name, inviting her to be with us and know that she is not forgotten. I feel her spirit and I know she longs to be with us, too.
A simple red corsage laid among the baubles and bells was a generous act of kindness that carried a mother’s love all these years later. My heart is full as I whisper “Merry Christmas Mama,” and her presence fills me for yet another year.