"Memories of Momma" — A 71 Day Photo Tribute (Day 51)



Christmas 2014 — Momma and I celebrated the holidays together in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. Once I moved to Alaska in 2009, we didn't have many Christmases together, and looking back, I wish I had spent every single Christmas with her. I can't imagine how lonely it was for her not having her "baby girl" home for the holidays.

In 2014, I was able to visit Mom for four long weeks, and we had such an incredible visit. I would have to say that starting new Christmas traditions together was one of the highlights. My Dad had passed away in November 2009, so the holidays were different with his absence.

When I was growing up, we'd celebrate Christmas on the 25th and would wake up early to open presents, then we would have a Christmas meal in the late afternoon, usually a ham or turkey with all the Southern fixings and more sweets than you can imagine.

After I moved away from home, I adopted a few new traditions, which Mom and I then included into our own Christmases together. For starters, we cooked a big prime rib feast on Christmas Eve, later in the evening since we would be staying up late for the candlelight midnight service at church. Presents would be opened after supper, as we'd sit around the fireplace and her beautifully decorated tree. Then we'd head to St. Mark's Lutheran Church around 10:30pm for their Christmas service. After midnight, the town was dark and quiet, so we'd drive around and look at Christmas lights. It made for a late night, but it was always so wonderful spending this quality time with Mom.

This past Christmas was my first one without her, and it was tougher than tough. But I kept her memory alive. I took special care and attention to decorate the tree with ornaments inherited from her, some of which she made herself. She always took such pride in putting the tree up and decorating the house. I was thoughtful in my gift-giving to Loved Ones, just as she was. Gift giving was her forte, and she always put so much effort and thought into a gift. Yes, her physical absence from Christmas will always be felt, but I know she will now always be part of my traditions.

*It's Day 51 of my 71 day photo series in honor of my dear sweet Momma who passed away on 03.21.2016 after a harrowing 71 day health battle. Those 71 days do not define her. Oh no. What defines her — and me — are the incredible 66 years that she lived her life. I hope you enjoy these snapshots of the beautiful moments and memories of her life.