As I sit quietly watching the candle flicker my mind wonders back through the many wonderful Christmases as a child. When it was just my parents, my older brother, myself and my little sister Cricket. To a time when we didn't have much but we didn't know it.. We had each other, we had love and we had daddy's homemade goodies. Cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls that would take forever to rise... Sometimes it would be midnight and we would be eating something yummy and warm that daddy just decided to whip up..
We have just passed the one year anniversary of my fathers death and my how I miss that man and his good cooking.. I miss those afternoons when he would show up at our house with anything from a coconut cream pie to a plate full of cream puffs, or a slab of ribs that melted in your mouth and the best Brunswick stew ever. Daddy had one special cake that the recipe had been passed down for generations through my mother's family. He worked at that cake till he had it perfect. The only time he baked this cake was at Christmas which made it all the more special. It was made with a million of the greasy little pecans which had to be fresh, just picked up from the ground Georgia pecan's, butter, lots of butter, flour, sugar and something that no one knows but him. He would say the little pecans was what made it so good. Even when we lived in other states if we couldn't get home to Georgia for Thanksgiving he would have momma's sister mail the pecans to us. My brother would take his piece to his room and hide it when we were kids .. I later found out he did the same thing as a grown man, hiding it from his kids ... Yes it was that good .. As our family grew daddy started making more and more cakes last year he surprised all of us by making each family their very own cake. He made 11 or 12 cakes last year and proudly handed them out to all of us.. Little did we know these would be the last cakes he would bake and Christmas dinner would be the last meal we would share together.
Daddy died that Christmas day... I came home from the hospital that night and wrapped my cake up and put it in the bottom of my freezer. Through out the past year I have thought about the cake and even though I was worried it would go bad if it was kept to long I could not bring myself to pull it out... till Christmas eve ~ as my hands unwrapped the foil my daddy had wrapped around this cake I could feel all the love and pride that he put into it. As I cut that first slice I had a flood of sweet memories wash over me. As I tasted daddy's cake knowing it would be the last time I would ever taste this wonderful gift, I knew my daddy was right here with me.
For the past two years I have tried to be everything to those that needed me. I was there for my parents, his children and wife when my brother passed. I was there for my husband when his father passed and of course I have been there for momma and my little sister Cricket since daddy passed.. I took care of everyone, but me. I forgot, I forgot to take care of me, I forgot to allow myself to breathe, to cry, to be loved by others, to grieve.
My beautiful nieces decided we should send balloons to heaven in honor of my brother and my father while we were all together for Christmas. As I watched my family, momma and my little sister Cricket gather together to send the balloons with words of love attached to heaven... My heart felt heavy it had been a hard day something inside me realized the finality of it all. Without me even realizing it my mind had set a timeline. Something about reaching that one year mark made it official.. Daddy isn't coming home... Daddy will never bake me another cake.
we all watched as the balloons started rising some joked and laughed others worried they would get tangled in the pines that daddy fussed about every fall when he had to rake.
The balloons moved into a clearing and went straight up...
It was a beautiful sight to see those balloons lift into the clear blue sky... The tears came ... Slowly at first as I watched the balloons go up.
even as Miss Brayci ran happily watching the balloons
The tears kept coming ... The closer the balloons reached heaven the harder my tears fell.
But as I uploaded these pictures and saw the expressions on the faces of my beautiful family, my mother, my little sister and all our babies I felt a tug on my heart, I felt a warmth around me, I felt love. I realized that even though daddy and my big brother are no longer here with us they left us with the most beautiful gift of all ... a loving family, a legacy to pass onto these little ones and so many wonderful memories... So while I have to let go, I know I still have so much to hang onto.. and hanging on I will ..
The cake is almost gone, my heart is lighter and opening up a little more with each passing day.. They say time heals all wounds, but I say only if you allow it... I'm ready to allow myself to cry, laugh and love again ... I'm ready to be me again and what better timing than a brand new year!
Happy New Year my friends may the new year bring us all more love and happiness than we know what to do with.... hugs from Savannah hugs from me, Cherry