Advent Calendar – Honoring the Deceased

Geneabloggers Advent Calendar  of Christmas Memories
prompt for December 22 asked how our family honors our decease relatives at  Christmas. . .

Sometimes sentiments are not spoken,
rather expressed with a heartfelt token

So to honor loved ones that did depart,
offer a gift of remembrance from the heart.
(C. Gade)

This has been a year of losses in our family.  It’s our first Christmas without my Step-dad who has been gone for only 4 months now.  I found that this blog lent me an opportunity to share and recall some Cherished Memories, including a genealogy gift I gave to him one Christmas.  Our family is also still grieving the loss of my cousin who was murdered, along with several others, in January.  Her sister has been working on some family history pages also (Ron Buckley, Deb Tillotson). It’s amazing how bits of healing can come through doing a family history.

Ronald Robert Buckley (1933- 2010)

Deborah Buckley Tillotson (1950-2010)

Sometimes family members through the years have purchased a memorial Poinsettia in honor of the deceased to place in the church during Christmas services and taken home afterwards, as they also do with an Easter Lily.  The symbolism of a Poinsettia is “courage in the darkness”, and the Lily reminds us of the resurrection.

Living in New England, visiting a cemetery would not be easy in the often snowy winter, especially when one lives hours away from the cemetery.  Though I believe my Nana used to place greenery or a wreath at my grandfather’s grave if she was able, especially near the anniversary of his death (December 17th, 1963). But she has been gone now for 22 years. I cannot help but think of her often, but especially at Christmas because I have such wonderful memories of family Christmas Eve gatherings at her home through the years.

Dorothy & Bertram Gade

December 18th my mother-in-law would have been 90 years old. Just a few days ago my husband posted something about her on facebook, a song that made him think of her and his Dad who are both missed very much.  It’s hard to believe they’ve been gone for 14 and 18 years. A few years ago I gave my husband a framed photo of them for a Christmas gift, one that he had years before but had got lost in a fire. It once again hangs in our living room for all to enjoy.

There are other loved ones who are missed who’s passing is still fresh in our hearts and minds, some elderly aunts and uncles.  I often make my Aunt Marion’s peanut butter fudge at Christmastime and remember her thoughtful ways – she used to give it out every Christmas to all the nieces and nephews.  But its only been five years since we lost my husband’s nephew, Neal, who was only 41, and absolutely loved Christmastime!  One Christmas, soon after he passed, my sister-in-law had a creative idea and had custom postage stamps made up with his photograph and used them when sending out her Christmas mailing.

In this day of technology it is rather interesting how we can find new ways to honor those special folks that we miss so dearly, not only at Christmastime, but everyday.  And I hope those of you who read this are able to find some special ways, a sentimental token, if that, to keep the memory alive of those you love and miss during this season.


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