DECEMBER 25, 2021: “The GIFT Tag” …

I had no idea how I’d memorialize this holiday when I woke up today, until, that is, I’d grabbed a few things from my gift-wrapping stash to dress up a few last presents. THEN IT HAPPENED! In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge proponent of recycling seemingly useless things that some people would throw away, especially inasmuch as I very much consider my life to be a repurposed work of art. Now that I think of it, it’s all the recycled and repurposed people I’ve crossed paths with thus far who’ve found their way closest to my heart. Meanwhile, and as such, each year after Santapalooza is over and the ground below the tree is buried in crumpled up paper, ribbons, bows, and tags, it’s not at all uncommon to find me rooting through the aftermath like a packrat for bits and pieces of anything that can be used again next season.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I reached into my “‘little drawer of tags” only to find this one from the very last Christmas present Gia would ever give Zack on his last one with us in 2018. Although it’s true that he took endless pieces of my heart with him when he left, as I sit here writing this, I am staring at a tag that in a perfect world would have been hanging on a gift for him, and I’m smiling from ear to ear.

I cannot tell you how many times I wandered back to where I’d left it this morning, picked it up, and literally held it to my heart, because this silly little thing means that he was here with us in the first place. I will cherish this unexpected treasure for as long as I’m alive and eventually pass it back to Gia, who I know will also cherish it for the same exact reasons I do. Despite all the pain, heartache, and sorrow he brought into our world at the end, the decade that proceeded his insanity that we had him whole and healthy was one of the greatest gifts of our lives.

If there is just one wisdom that I’ve acquired on my journey thus far that I could “gift” to all of you, it’s that grieving the deaths of the people we’ve loved and lost is one of the highest honors and utmost triumphs of our existence. To have loved and been loved by those we were connected to enough to grieve is a privilege that not everyone gets to have. The truth of the matter is that when we get to the very end of the road with those we’ve loved and lost, the only “gifts” that will have really mattered is knowing that that WE HAD THEM and THEY HAD US! The abundance of true joy that I’m feeling right now is proof positive of what I’ve long known to be true, that “Death Is Nothing At All” and I am still the most blessed living queen that has ever reigned on this Earth.

Said goodbye, turned around, and you were gone, gone, gone. Faded into the setting sun – slipped away. But I won’t cry, ’cause I know I’ll never be lonely, for you are the stars to me. You are the light I follow.

Merry Christmas to all you beautiful people who took the time to read this Diary entry. If, like me, you celebrated Jesus’s birthday with a person missing from your table, know that they’re saving you a seat at the table where we will dine with our Lord and Savior eternally. Until that day comes, try and remember that although the bodies that packaged their souls were only ever meant for us to borrow, the precious love and memories they left behind are ours to keep forever. Just as this tag found it’s way back to me in the unexpected way that it did, someday those borrowed gifts we had to give back will find there way back to us when we finally get to see them again.