Del Hayes Press

Because You Add Sparkle To My Life

In two weeks, we celebrate Christmas, 2021. There are as many reasons to celebrate that annual rebirth of our spirit of giving as there are people doing so. But, given the traumas of this Year of our Lord, 2021, its passing will also be celebrated by many.

For me, however, Christmas of 2021 is especially poignant, being the tenth anniversary of our last one with Colleen, my Dear Companion, wife, mother and grandmother. And it in someway seems appropriate that my blog, at this time, should feature such an anniversary. But it was a small, shiny red bag, a “stocking stuffer” that Colleen left for me to open, that first Christmas we endured without her, that still gives me pause, wondering about many inexplicable elements of life.

“Stocking Stuffer from an Angel

Our son, Curt, and his family had decided to make the drive to Texas from Florida to be with me over Christmas and New Year’s. They knew it would be my first Christmas without “Grand Mom.” I had already listed our “Homestead House” for sale, and they knew it could well be our last Christmas in that house that held so many memories of her. They didn’t want it to pass with me being alone.

I had been surprised, and puzzled, earlier in the day when Curt’s wife came downstairs carrying several “stocking stuffer” bags she had wrapped at Colleen’s wrapping desk. As she came into the family room, she turned to me and asked,

“Del, did you know Colleen had a stocking stuffer bag for you?”

I had no idea what she was talking about, and asked what she was referring to.

“This bag. There’s a tag on it. It’s for you, from Colleen,” she answered, holding a shiny, red gift bag. “From Colleen, to Del,” she said, showing me the tag. “It was sitting under her gift wrapping desk, just like this. I just happened to see it when I looked under the desk for something, while I was doing the bags for us.”

Just a little “disco ball” for Christmas

That was surprising and puzzling enough, but the real shock came when it came time for us to begin opening the items inside. I waited until the kids had done theirs, and a bit of the excitement had subsided, then reached in and pulled out the first item at the top of the bag.

I expected it to be a typical “joke” item, or piece of my favorite candy, as we normally put in our Christmas stockings to each other. Instead, wrapped in clear Saran Wrap with a ribbon tying it, was a small “disco ball” sort of sparkly ornament. A small, hand-lettered note was attached to the ribbon.

“Because you add sparkle to my life”


That’s all, the handwritten note on the little package read. Just a little ornament to tell me I “added sparkle to her life.” To tell the truth, I was so overcome by it I had to put it down and leave the room for a bit. It was later that night before I could bring myself to look at the rest of the items.

Angels for Christmas

The other items were also just small things, but all of sort that tended to suggest implicit messages to me. But more than anything, there were the angels. A decorative paper angel was tied to the handle of the bag. Also included was a clear glass angel about six inches tall, a decorative “knick-knack” for a shelf or desk. And there was the boxed bar of decorative hand soap, with an imbedded picture of…yes, an angel. And another small one, just tossed in with the others.

Angels. Really? Why would she have included those in a stocking stuffer? All those “gifts,” that felt more like messages, were all emotionally overwhelming at the time, and in many ways, still are. But the real questions remain unanswered.

Colleen left us seven months before that little red bag appeared in my life. Nothing about its existence, or contents, has any plausible, logical explanation. When did she prepare it? Why did she do it, filling it with items that all felt like messages she knew I would need to hear. Did she have premonitions, long in advance, apparently believing she would no longer be with me? Mysteries unanswered at the time, mysteries that remain so.

But answers to such mysteries are not what seem most important to me, this decade later. Can a husband ever be granted a nicer affirmation of his fifty five years married to the love of his life than to read, after she is no longer with him, that she wanted him to know that…

“ you add sparkle to my life.”

During this year of turmoil, death from frightening diseases, political contention, angry disputes among those who claim to be our friends, financial stresses and all the rest of the forces pulling us down into pits of despair, that sparkly little disco ball, from one I loved so deeply, should serve to remind us what our lives should really be all about.

Colleen was the sort of person who would sit quietly during some group discussion, listening to the comments of others, then at just the “right” moment, make one small comment that caused the conversation to pause, as others just nodded in understanding and agreement. I never once, in all our years together, heard her say anything at such a time that would have caused someone to be troubled, or hurt, by it.

In this time of angry vitriol being hurled over social media, when political forces vying for supremacy cast a black pall of hate over the land, can there be a better time to be reminded of how our lives should truly manifest the blessings we all receive? And can there be a better gift that you can give anyone, family member or stranger, friend or foe, than to “add sparkle to their life?”

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2 thoughts on “Because You Add Sparkle To My Life”

  1. Very touching and I very well can relate
    We only got 12 years together but he is still with me every day in spirit and thought
    This time of year was a time he loved and taught his sons the meaning of Christmas
    Love last forever

    1. Thanks for your comments, Patsy. Glad you liked the blog. I have some related thoughts I’ll share in a private email to you.

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