Last Christmas would be the first without my mother. We did the tree, the candles, and I bought some Christmas cards at the local photographers shop, with pictures of the island in snow. I got four of each, a total of about twenty-four I think, or twenty-eight. I was not very inspired this year, and hardly looked at the pictures of the lighthouse, the panoramic view from the dunes, and a scene in the street with the lighthouse in the background. All in snow. Somehow the spirit was not really there.
Things got worse when one aunt got a stroke just before Christmas day, aunt Esther broke her wrist and one son never made it home for Christmas because of weather conditions. (He is here now though. )
Christmas day my husband, me and the youngest son went to my eldest son, who lives 6 km away, and whom I had sent a card as well.
“When did you make that picture?” he asked while we were enjoying a drink.
“I didn’t. The photographer did. I bought the cards from him.”
I had sent him one of the street view, like my cousin in Belgium. She had asked about a house in the picture. Something had been altered and she noticed. I realized the pic must have been more than twenty years old.
My son then wanted to know: “How come I never saw this picture of my grandmother before?”
“What?” I took a good look at the card. There were only two people on the pic.
“The woman with the sledge!” he said. “It is Oma!”
I watched. The woman was seen on the back. But I knew the sledge, a typical Terschellinger design. As this sledge was very small, the handle had been made higher. I remember my father doing that. He never bothered to paint it green like the rest of the sledge.
“There is only one sledge like that and I have it here. And besides, I know that coat,” my son said. “It is grandmother alright, going to do her shopping!”
I recognized the yellow boots. The trousers she hated to wear, but that particular year it was so cold…
“O my god! It really is her!“ I exclaimed. We were astonished. There she was, three months exactly after her burial, on this Christmas card I had sent to some people who had loved her. This way she was with us after all…
Of course it was a big coincidence I picked this card this Christmas. But a very nice one!