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The memory of that Christmas Eve years ago still lingers in my mind. Who would have known that a simple candle made of wax and wick would change my way of thinking forever...
Christmas Eve was a special time for Momma and Poppa. Even though there never was enough money to go down to the neighborhood stores to buy presents, Momma and Poppa always made sure I had one present on Christmas morning. In years past I had received a doll made from worn out clothing, with a painted face and hair of yarn. A box made of wood carved by Poppa with my name encircled with a heart. One gift to a young child may not be much, but Momma and Poppa always made sure there was something under our tiny Christmas tree.
But this year Momma was not home for Christmas. The Angels had come for her earlier the summer before. Poppa had grown weary working jobs that paid very little and kept him away for days on end. Leaving me to tend to the house and to keep up with my schooling. Momma always knew what the perfect gift would be that would make my Christmas complete. She was the one who made the doll and suggested the box that I still hold dear today. But now Momma was gone and Poppa was away, leaving me alone on Christmas Eve.
I sat alone reading by the dim light of the last candle that I found in Mommas nightstand. Momma made such beautiful candles, dipping each wick lovingly into the hot wax over and over until the candles took form. Before gently hanging them up to dry she would take a knife and carve a word on each one. Through the years, I had seen the words hope, love, giving, along with a multitude of others. I took the candle down from stand and this one had one word cut delicately in its side...remember.
How odd a word to put on one of her lovely candles. It seemed strange not to see a word of hope, love, charity or even family. Remember. Why would Momma put such a simple word on this last candle? Taking the candle down from the shelf, memories of Momma flooded into my mind. Her soft golden hair, the smell of her favorite perfume, even the memory of her voice seemed to echo in my ear.
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As the flame died, I remember how my heart sank. It was if as though some one had simply blown it out. Sitting in the dark, I cried for what seemed an eternity, when there was a thud at the front door. I opened it to find Poppa standing there with a package, a tiny Christmas tree and the smile that I hadn't seen since summer was on his face. Poppa didn't say a word as he set up the tiny tree, laying the package below. He started humming a song that I had heard Momma hum a thousand times before. He sat down beside me, took the package and laid it in my lap and told me to open it, he said that Momma had given this to him before she had gotten sick, and told him it was not to be opened until Christmas Eve. I gently took off the paper, opened the box and was transfixed by what was inside. The box was filled with candles, there had to be at least 100 of them. And on each one, written along the side was one word...Mother.
After all these years, I only have a few of the candles left. I burn them at times when I need my Mother near. That Christmas Eve taught me that even though someone has passed on, that you must remember the joys that they brought to your life. Each time I light one of Mother's candles I hear her voice, I smell her perfume and I remember her soft blonde hair and I remember her last words to me. "Yes, Mom.... I remember, I love you too."