Grief at Christmas is like no other. Grief knows no day or time, it comes and visits you when it wants and however it wants. No Christmas, or Easter or Thanksgiving holiday keeps it away. When a child dies, those holidays are hard. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been or how it happened. The holidays are never the same.
I have had to change my view of Christmas especially since the death of my daughter six years ago. This will be my 7th Christmas that I will not be wrapping fun gifts for her to open on Christmas morning. I will not be getting up early to watch her open her gifts and see her funny face and how she would always put bows on her head and face as she collected her gifts. If you haven’t lost a child, you can’t know the gravity of this space.
This space of grief is overwhelming at times to the point that nothing makes sense and y ou want to go back to bed and cover up and forget it all happened. But it did happen and it happened to me and perhaps it’s happened to you. I know it’s hard. There are no words that can adequately describe the pain and sorrow that the loss of a child can bring. The recent events in Newtown Connecticut brings it all back. As I imagine and know all to well, how these parents are feeling today. It’s numbing, it’s painful and it hurts beyond belief. Waking up to know and understand that there has been a huge hole created by the loss of your child is unimaginable.
The stages of grief are a welcome in the early days. Shock helps you get through the difficult early days that follow a loss. In fact, I found myself preparing to celebrate my daughter’s life during the three days that followed her death fairly painless. Even speaking at her celebration of life seemed to come easily to me. It was the days to come that made me drop to my knees and asky “why”.
My dear friends, these newly grief-stricken parents are going to need so much love and prayer in the days, weeks, months to come. Each day that passes the loss becomes bigger and harder to manage. Please don’t forget them. They need us. As a nation we need to lift them up in prayer and support them however we can.
I know and understand all to well just how much prayer and support means, even today 6 years later. I still get cards, Christmas gifts from those “angels” who supported me throughout my most darkest days. I know they are moved by God to provide and support, whatever means that is, it’s a gift to those of us who grieve.
Christmas, while it is a time to celebrate family, it is also a time to celebrate the greatest gift of all, Jesus. This is how I make it through – remembering the real reason we celebrate this holiday. Because if left to celebrate it as I have in my past, I’d never make it through. So I am thankful this holiday season. I have been given much. I have been blessed beyond measure. And yes, while I have lost much, I have been blessed with much more.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays however you celebrate.
until next time,