The arms of love encompass you with your present, your past, your future, the arms of love gather you together. –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The concept for my above christmas card, Home for the Holidays sprang from my daughter’s imagination. Fresh from college, Bridget was nannying for a baby named Jack at the time. She was crazy about him and thought up the design so her little muse could be included. My son Brian, found the model for the angel pulling the tree. He knew Marissa’s uncle and thought she was one of most endearing little girls he’d ever met.
I was a little leery about a holiday card that focused on loved ones returning home. What about people separated by miles that for some reason couldn’t make it back? I thought how painful it would be for those who couldn’t be together because of war or worse yet death. That year when Christmas came my own daughter would be halfway across the country in Idaho. I could already feel the sting.
Difficult as it was, my daughter’s move taught me something. I learned being separated by the miles had little or no baring on our relationship. We were closer than ever. Computers and cell phones brought me to the realization that being with Bridget in person is wonderful but only one aspect of our love. Our hearts were connected even though we were miles apart.
In 2009, when my sister died suddenly, it took that notion to a whole different level. The first Christmas without her was brutal. We were so much a part of one another it felt as if she had been ripped from me. As the years passed, I’ve settled into life without her in the flesh. I’ve adjusted to having a different kind of relationship with her. It took working through the grief to get to this point. Even though we are seemingly apart, we are closer than ever, just like with Bridget.
For awhile our souls inhabit these bodies, but our true selves are connected at a higher level. Real separation from anyone we love is not possible for they are entwined in our hearts. So in this season of joy and throughout the new year, I wish you the luxury of knowing all your loved ones are home. And in fact, they never left.
All text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.