I am also reminded that I am not alone in my somewhat tentative approach to the Christmas Season, that there are countless other "moms like me" who are living with loss and considering how they will "do" Christmas this year - some several years out from their loss, others new in their loss and emotionally raw - still trying to just stand up straight and breathe again.
At our November "Living with Loss While Others Are Celebrating" Workshop, a precious mom approached me in tears saying "I dread this time of year, since my daughter died. This used to be my favorite time of year and now I don't know how I am going to make it through without having a complete meltdown!"
I have heard many comments such as this over the past six years of reaching out to grieving moms, and I so empathize with the heart-wrenching concerns and expressed anxieties and even fear - I know only too well the intense emotions that accompany the Christmas Season - - a beautiful, but challenging time of year for anyone who has suffered the loss of a child - - this can be a lonely, emotional time of year for anyone who has suffered the loss of someone they love, and I am now keenly aware of all those who are alone or grieving the loss of someone they love and miss - I am no longer ignorant to the reality that this can be a very painful time of year, a time when "people need people," but mostly a time when we need the LORD to be the "reason for the season!"
Some of us courageously (or stubbornly) forge ahead with determination to uphold our holiday festivities and traditions. Some of us "get away" from the whole Christmas "thing." Others of us, try to "make merry," but we know that we are just going through the motions for the sake of our family and friends AND to make everyone else feel like things are normal somehow. We protect the innocence of the little children in our families who still believe in Santa Claus and the "miracle" of Christmas - - surely they are the ones who still have "eyes that see!"
Some of us are numb and go through the Season in a kind of fog, and we're surprised when it's all over and we can't really remember what we did, but we're glad we have photos, as proof that we did celebrate somehow. Most of us feel weak and more vulnerable emotionally this time of year, and all of us miss that child who isn't here with us - oh, how we miss them!!!
How are you approaching this Christmas Season? Are you dreading it? Are you determined to "make merry" and keep all your traditions in place whether you "feel" like it or not? Are you going to "get away" from it all by just not doing a traditional Christmas or by going out of town? What does Christmas mean to you now that your child is gone from you?
The following words of wisdom and encouragement were emailed to me this week and I want to pass them on to you, as you consider the days and weeks ahead when you are living with loss while everyone around you seems to be celebrating. May these words speak to you somehow; these words reminded me of the importance of celebrating life - truly a blessing and miracle - the most precious Christmas gift of all - - ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST!
"No matter how many years pass, it is, and may always be, a season of memories for us. A season of forgiveness of those who have or are letting the memories fade into the distance.
We would never want the Christmas Season to be only for those that have died. We want to celebrate that special life and the blessings from it - we want to celebrate the lives that are being lived and look forward to those blessings too, being ever thankful for all lives.
I believe, and I have personally experiended, that it is the understanding and forgiveness that we have for others that help us get through uncomfortable and challenging situations, and give us permission to celebrate life, even in loss."
-Sharon Spencer "a mom like you" Ft. Collins, CO
The following is my Christmas prayer for you, for all the precious moms who are "not of those who draw back"(Heb.10:39), those "heroes of hope" who are making their way through the journey of grief by God's goodness, mercy and grace, continuing to shine the light of Christ, because you know that "JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON!"
This prayer is also for those who doubt God's love and faithfulness, who have lost hope and are perplexed, angry and even possibly in despair. It is my hope and prayer for all of us that God will fill us with increased HOPE and renewed JOY, as we continue to live with the loss of our beloved children with HOPE! With Faith, Hope and Love in Christ - Angie
MAY GOD'S LIGHT SHINE!
May God send you
More STRENGTH and GRACE
If you should face a crisis place.
May God send you
More LOVE and LIGHT
If you should face
A stormy night.
May JOY and PEACE
Be yours today
And May God's LIGHT
Shine on your way . . on YOU Today!
"You (precious mom) have a very special place in my heart." -Philippians 1:7