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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Etter

This time of the year


I think today marks the latest in December I've ever decorated our Christmas tree. My mother often bought me ornaments as presents, and sometime in the late 90s, when I was living in southern California, I began buying us matching ornaments, one for my tree in California and then England, one for the family tree in Illinois, a practice I continued until the year before she died. So putting ornaments up is an act of remembrance: this leaping hare is the last one I bought us; here's a cardinal she gave me, that always brings to mind the brightness of that red against snow in an Illinois winter; ah, these fancy ones are from the years I lived near a Mikasa outlet in Orange County; here's the teddy bear whose wooden limbs rise when you pull the red string--we both loved that one. So I postponed decorating, because though I remember and miss her every day, going through those ornaments reinvigorates the sorrow of her loss.

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