Augustan rediscovers holiday joy

For the first time in seven years, Janis Daniel put her heart fully into the holiday season.

Since her mother's death in 2000, Christmas has been a struggle for her, she said.

"It was a holiday we celebrated together. When she passed away, it became hard for me. It wasn't the same without my mother. It was lonely," she said.

The anniversary of her mother's death, June 1, was a turning point.

"I had a deliverance," she said. "All of a sudden, I felt like the loneliness, the burden, had lifted. I know it had to be God."

With help from a friend, Lillian Tutt, she began preparing for this Christmas with enthusiasm and started decorating Oct. 4.

"I started early so that I could go through a mental process and enjoy what I had put in place. It gives me peace, tranquility, a peace of mind," she said. "Putting up the decorations was therapeutic for me."

She decorated nine trees of varying sizes. One is called the Tree of Life, a memorial for her mother.

"I love my mom. Always did and still do," she said. "The tree is in honor of her."

In front of the tree, Ms. Daniel placed pictures of her mother and her brother, who died in 2003. Two albums containing pictures, cards and notes preserve precious memories of times shared with her mother.

The unconditional love her mother showed is an example for others to follow, Ms. Daniel said.

"We are taught to love and share with one another," she said. "There's not just one day to express love. It's something we ought to do all year round."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

AT HOME WITH

THE HOMEOWNER: Janis Daniel

THE HOME: The two-story south Augusta house has two bedrooms and 11/2 bathrooms. Ms. Daniel has lived there for 32 years.

IT'S A FACT: Ms. Daniel's home features two main colors, pink and burgundy, which her mother liked.

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