Thursday, December 18, 2014

"O Christmas Tree! O Tannenbaum!

Want to go to the cemetery to take a Christmas tree to Brandon’s grave? Me neither. I don’t like to see the tombstone with his name and the dates of his birth and his death. Don’t like it. Too real. And I don’t really feel him there. I tend to feel him anywhere and everywhere else.

Yet as much as I know he’s not there, I’m also compelled to ensure he has a live Christmas tree where his ashes now reside. One with lights that work. The tree is small because I can’t handle or stabilize a bigger tree, but it’s just the kind of fir tree we both like.

I decorated the tree at home. Lights, gold-beaded garland, ornaments, bells, bows and a small Santa wind chimes. Why not keep the tree in a special spot at home where it would stay out of the wind and away from any inclement weather? I wish I knew. In spite of knowing he’s not at the cemetery, a real Christmas tree is a must. Go figure.

Brandon's Christmas tree 2014
And it has to light at night. The white lights I wound around the tree came with a battery pack and a 6-hour timer, which I’ve set to light from 4:45-10:45 p.m. EDT. Yes, I know the cemetery gates close at 5 p.m. and no one will see the lights each night. But like the lights place on windowsills each Christmas season to represent and welcome the Light of the world into homes, I want the spot marking the burial place of Brandon’s to have light. I can’t bear the thought of there being no light for him at night while I also know due to the unusual “vision” I’d experienced immediately after his birth that he lives in the perfect light. And I also want his spot to have sound, although I couldn’t give you a reason why. Still, the bells and the Santa wind chime are there for a reason.

Brandon’s 3-year-old daughter Morgan and I took the Christmas tree to the cemetery Monday. I staked the tree stand into the ground and then Morgan helped me add tinsel. I taught her as I’d taught Brandon and my other children how to carefully apply only two to four strands at a time at the end of a branch. Morgan loved adding the tinsel and watching it blow in the wind.
Morgan after adding tinsel
Late this afternoon I revisited Brandon’s gravesite and the Christmas tree. I was afraid the tree may have made it through a severe storm, which had swept through our area two nights ago. I thought it likely it had been knocked down or blown away, but there it stood little worse for wear! I had to reinsert several stakes in the stand to hold it in place, and a number of ornaments needed to be picked off the ground and rehung and others needed rearranging. Surprisingly, much of the tinsel was intact! And the lights went on as scheduled at 4:45 p.m.

I tried a chorus of “O Christmas Tree” before I left before the gates closed, but I don’t think I’ll ever make it to the end of that song. Ditto for “Silent Night” or even “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Maybe I should simply settle for “Cry Me a River”?

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