The Christmas Plate: The Story it Tells

As I stood at the kitchen sink washing the Christmas plates to put out for dinner the grief came in like a tidal wave. As I wiped the sponge across the plate I looked at the Christmas tree on the center and I remembered the Christmas dinners we had growing up. I remembered my mother’s love for cooking multi-course family dinners with us all sitting around the table in the dining room of my childhood home. I remembered her planning for weeks what she was going to make, searching for the best recipes, and prepping. Oh the prepping. I remembered the joy and excitement of Christmas and waiting for my grandparents to arrive. I remembered standing in the kitchen with my mother, the smells of the food cooking, and helping her prepare the food. This plate I was holding in my hand that I had pulled out from a box that had been stored in our basement for the past two years held all those memories. It held all those stories.

I realized in this moment that I hadn’t taken these plates out since my mother passed away

three years ago. We’ve had 2 Christmases in this house now and we hadn’t used them. Since moving into my parents house after losing my mother, I hadn’t pulled these plates out because until this moment they had been in storage. All the emotions I’d been holding in leading up to today flowed out of me in tears. In that moment I fell to pieces.

When we grieve the loss of a loved one the pain never goes away. It stays there in our hearts. It just gets quieter. The screaming pain we once felt in the moments and days after someones passing just turns into a whisper. But…sometimes that whisper decides to get louder…today was that day for me. I’m just a week and a half from my oldest turning 16 years old, getting his driver’s license, and reaching a pretty big milestone in his life. These are the moments that the quiet whispering grief decides to get pretty darn loud. These are the moments…the holidays, the birthdays, the special moments, that I wish she was here for. The ones that make it painful that she’s not.

As I stood at the sink washing my mother’s plates and tears streaming down my face, my oldest saw me. It took him a moment to realize I was crying.

“Mom what? What is it?”

“Oh I just miss Nani….I miss my Mom. These were her plates and we used them growing up for our Christmas dinners and it made me really miss her.” And then, I just fell apart. I really fell apart.

In that moment my 16 year old, who’s now taller then me wrapped his arms around me. He hugged me so hard. My teenager that doesn’t always hug me these days held me so, so tight. I tried at one point to pull away and he just held me close. Then my youngest had walked into the room and asked what was wrong.

I said “I just miss Nani a lot today” and he put his arms around us both. They probably didn’t know just how much I needed that in that very moment.

Our memories of our loved ones are wrapped up in moments. They’re wrapped up in traditions, family stories, and the little things. Today the plate that I held in my hand held so many stories. Years of Christmas dinners, smiles, laughter, yummy food, and traditions. Today after I washed those plates, my boys put their Christmas dinner on those same plates. We sat around the table together, talking, laughing, and sharing memories. I know in these moments that my mother feels that her memory is being honored. That the holidays she envisioned to occur in the four walls of this home I’m bringing to life. She may not have been here with us today in person, but I know she was here with us in spirit. I know she was smiling. Listening to our laughter and enjoying this Christmas moment with us as we made new memories with her still a little part of these stories.

(Originally Posted December 25, 2022)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: