It has been ten years since I spent a Christmas with Charlie. He loved everything about Christmas, including movies and parties. He’d sing the carol “Three Ships” until his throat hurt or until someone threatened to strangle him (that person was most likely me). A Charlie Brown Christmas was on repeat, he knew the lines by heart and would often randomly recite them to anyone within earshot. His love of Charlie Brown just made sense, he was after all named after the blockhead. That’s right, his name was not Charles, it was Charlie. He’d correct people on the daily. Charlie would often laugh when his cohorts had to submit amendments to the courts in order to correct their naming error.
Charlie was the living breathing form of the Christmas Spirit. He lived with a servants heart and would often go out of his way during the Christmas season to brighten someone’s day. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to pay for a stranger’s meal, leave large tips, and buy gifts for children in need. He believed it’s better to give than receive. This is one of the areas where Charlie and I meshed, our love language was gift giving and service. Together we’d hit the street at dusk and handout coffee to the homeless with a little something tucked into the sleeve. Charlie loved to mentor as well, he’d beam from ear to ear when one of his Rez Kids got into college. Those were his proudest moments, helping our people move forward to a better day.
Moments. Jay gives me space to share moments of Charlie with him. He understands that he has a seat at my table because Charlie lost his. That Charlie will always be apart of my story and his love will always be with me. Because if it weren’t for Charlie’s leaving, Jay wouldn’t have met the love of his life aka “ME!” When Jay tells me he loves me I always reply “I love you more.” Charlie used to tell me “I love you more.” I asked him why once and he said “because I have a lot of love to give and you deserve just a bit more than the average amount. So, I love you more!”
He loved me more. In away I think Charlie somehow knew that he was running low on time. He lived to the fullest. Nothing was off limits. He was vibrant and quiet. He wasn’t perfect, he had his demons like we all do. Yet he allowed people the space to heal and grow. Charlie did not like to be alone and it seemed he attracted the broken. He never judged you, he just listened and gave thought before he spoke words of advice. His condo was a revolving door, with each shot shared and board game played he saved their hearts. The only heart he couldn’t fully heal was mine. It was 3/4s healed and then it broke into a million pieces on the day that he died. I’d give anything to hear one more, “I love you more.”
Apart of me will always long for more time with Charlie. Our story was cut so very short. Yet, I’ve found ways to keep his spirit alive. I found a partner who understand that 1/4 of my heart will always belong to Charlie. Jay gives me the space to share memories and stories, and he makes a point to tell me “we are running low on the Charlie Brown paper.” Speaking of which, you will always find A Charlie Brown Christmas wrapping paper under our tree. Charlie’s childhood glass Christmas ornaments are safely tucked away, cause you know cats.
Three ships….. is forever engrained in my mind, the words I know by heart. It’s mostly engrained in my brain because Charlie sang it at the top of his lungs all year long. If he wasn’t singing it, he was humming it as he did the dishes, walked Cullen, and strolled through Target. I’d give anything to hear that off tune voice in the shower again or hell even be trapped in a car with said voice. With withered sails I saw three ships, three ships come sailing in……….
I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,
I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas Day in the morning.
Charlie is now woven into the fabric of Christmas. He reminds me to view the world with child like wonder and to look for the magic in the mundane. His spirit lives on so long as I speak his name and Charlie’s stories are his legacy. A legacy of love and service. In my heart of hearts I know he is having the grandest time in heaven with Lucia, Baby E, and Emmett. In away I’m jealous, jealous because he gets to spend Christmas and all the days thereafter with our sweet sons. Charlie’s Christmas spirit will always live on in our home for he keeps watch over our sleeping sons.