If your holiday is bright and warm, you are welcome here. If your holiday is sad, you are welcome here. If you are in a crowd, alone, happy, crying, making it through the holiday the first time after a loss, you are welcome here. Other people’s lives often look better than ours. But we don’t know what is happening behind that window. That door. Those eyes.
So welcome here. Put down what you need to put down. Take what I can offer: small comfort. The release of pain. And the sturdiness of a ficus with a history. This day will pass. Whether you want it to or not, whether you cling in joy or cry in unhappiness, it will pass.
It’s taking over the living room, it is, that tree
Leaves filled in, more pushing out of sturdy stems.
A few forgotten ornaments hidden, waiting for a celebration.
You bought that tree in ‘93, scraggly, snow-filled,
Snatched it from the gaping door at fast-fading Hechinger’s
Brought it home to brighten up that desolate apartment
The cats and I called home while you
were winding up our life up North somewhere.
Six moves it took with us; each one a risk.
The last one, cross-country in a darkened, over-heated van
In August. I thought it wouldn’t last.
It threw off leaves. I held my breath.
But that ficus, he knows what love is.
Knows the value of holding on when light is rare.
He’s taught me a thing or two about waiting
Through the times when love is cold
Waiting for the light and warmth you bring.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer who teaches writing. She is also a creativity coach who helps people get through hard times.