Christmas In Hell

Today was the end of another chapter. We finished cleaning out the townhouse we’d spent the past five years in. Checked the mailbox one last time. Turned in the keys and left the garage door opener behind.

It wasn’t too emotional but it wasn’t completely emotionless, either.

I think I wrote not too long ago about how moving from Burnsville would be difficult because it was the last home we had or will have that Natalie visited. That we will have memories of. That she will have, in jest, said “What happened? Did ya fire the maid?”

I was lucky enough to have people help me and that Don did the majority of the work in the townhouse. It was just too painful for me to be there.

I did go today though. This morning to help get the last load of stuff out and the wind chime caught my eye. It was hung in an odd spot. Somewhere between the living room and the staircase, in other words, nowhere near wind. I’d never really paid much attention to it before. I asked Don to grab it and what I’d always assumed was a generic garden scene painted on the base of the chime, was anything but. The tag hung low and I grabbed it as it swung toward me. This piece of art was called “Noah’s Ark”. It had a circle of pairs of animals, walking together toward the biblical boat and there was a quote that said “God keeps his promises”.

I didn’t know what to make of it. I felt sad and angry but also, as taken care of. Special because I am getting signs almost everyday that my sister and my son are with God, they are taken care of and so am I.

Tonight, while putting things away, organizing and getting settled, I’d asked Don to look at the TV/VHS player to see if he could figure out how to get sound. He jiggled a few wires and like magic, the past came to life on the big screen.

A video from when I was about five and Natalie was three, animated. We’d gotten a playhouse from Santa. I watched us, reliving that Christmas and felt overcome with feelings of love and loss. The video play for about a half an hour and if I’m remembering right, dad was trying out his video camera and checking out all the special effects. The result was, at times, Natalie would walk through the living room and be transparent. It was a little eerie but I couldn’t get enough. My heart broke again when, near the end of the tape, you can hear dad’s voice “Say goodbye Natalie, wave bye-bye. See you next Christmas” and those tiny fingers closing and opening in a fist with her grin that was all teeth faded to black.

 

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