Since Ed and I bought a house instead of having a big wedding reception, we didn’t have enough money left for our first Christmas tree.
I remembered I had saved my little 4-foot childhood Christmas tree. It was a green stick with holes that you stick the branches into. We set it up, put on one string of lights and a few ornaments. We were so much in love that instead of being sad about not having a nice tree, we were happy to just be together in our new home.
We decided to take a picture next to our little tree. It was so small that we had to put it on a folding snack table so we didn’t have to crouch down to take our picture next to it. Ed put on a suit and tie. I changed into a teal dress. We hugged for the picture.
Last Christmas was my first Christmas since Ed went to heaven. My son wanted to put up our big tree. We did. This year, my sons will not be coming home for Christmas. I will drive to them to celebrate with their new families and friends. I didn’t want to put up the big tree just for me. I wondered where my little tree might be. I found it in the attic in an old trunk with rusted hinges. The tree was clean and dust free. My son helped me bring it down and put it up.
The first little tree that Ed and I set up in our newlywed home has come full circle to keep me company now that Ed has gone home ahead of me. The many memories of our beautiful holidays filled with joy and laughter live now with the memories of Ed in my heart.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Aug. 1, 2020. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter in-person and virtual enrichment weekends, visit www.wwme.org. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.