Grief at Christmas

Red Haired Angel

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,

 

 

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Randomness

Today is Christmas and as I’m sure I don’t have tell you all that, whether you celebrate it or not. It’s Christmas.

To me it means so many things. It’s the foundation of my faith; the hope instilled in my heart; and the assurance that God is in control.

But in my private moments whether it be in mind or alone in my apartment – the randomness of where my thoughts go continue to surprise me. I  have come to understand what has happened to me over the years but I have yet to understand “why”. It’s the why that holds me back. It’s the why that causes me to cry in the shower uncontrollably because my mind randomly goes to that place – the place where I try to avoid at all costs – the space in my heart that is void – that will not or ever will be healed. Perhaps a scar, but never healed.

Crying in the shower is something I’ve come to believe is cleansing to the soul – not just the body. I feel I can pour out my soul in the shower – as the water pours over me and into the drain – it is my hope that the tears will pour out of my body and down the drain. It’s exhausting to cry but also healing. Pain has to find a release. Tears are a perfect expression of the soul – pouring out it’s pain in hopes of healing the wound that is from deep within.

I still find avoiding looking at my daughter’s pictures. If I linger to long, I can no longer look away – I’m taken back to a time and begin to mourn all over again. So today was one of those days that I looked over at my favorite picture of her where her arms are crossed over as if she is hugging herself and thinking to myself how much I miss her hugs. Her love. Her laugh. Her happiness was infectious. I miss her everyday and I don’t think that will ever change.

I have a heart of gratitude for having been honored to be her mother. That God loved me so much to allow me the honor to have such a wonderful spirit of a daughter. I believe her spirit is among us and lives through us. I think sometimes I forget that and then I become sad. But I am reminded that she is part of me as I am a part of her. She will forever be a part of me. I will not forget her, I refuse not to speak of her and mostly I will never forget that she was my daughter.

At this Christmas time remember to look at your children and know that God has granted you the honor of being their parents. It’s a humbling thought if you allow that thought to move you into a place of gratitude. I am the spirit I am today because of my daughter’s influence. I am grateful for the lessons she taught me for so long. Love everyone, deny no one and be the hands of Jesus to everyone you meet. Just think if we all lived like that what a world we would see.

until next time,

m