The previous posting was a sort of prelude to this one. Thursday’s writer’s prompt needs pieces that would encouragement to Gather Essential readers as we all try to cope with something this holiday season. So I humbly offer you mine. The Christmas holidays are never perfect and they tend to magnify tenfold whatever else may have gone on this past year in our lives. Many of you are spending your first Christmas without loved ones who made this season bright.
And it hurts, feels strange, off balance and you probably wish the Grinch had stolen Christmas.
Well, I would like to share with you, looking through a rear view mirror, how I survived the loss of my Christmas spirit and our family Santa Claus. You see twenty years ago my brother Mike, the one in the earlier story, died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the age of 47. He was the first real loss of anyone close to me and it was as sudden as a gun shot to the heart. He passed in September so wounds were fresh and tears came easily in December. Try as I might my heart just wasn’t in it. I am here to say that’s okay. Skip the whole holiday if you want to. Give yourself the gift of freedom to hurt and to not have to pretend that you are having a good time.
I can’t tell you next year will be any different. There are no guarantees as to how a heart mends itself or how long it takes. Like all things in life we really have no control and it hardly ever works when we try to forcibly pursue normalcy where there isn’t any. So I advise you to cut yourself some slack and let the holidays be what you need them to be.
This year was the twentieth anniversary of my brother’s passing. Looking back it is hard for me to imagine just what would have happened had he lived. The possibilities, good, bad, and horrible are endless. However, having him suspended in that time with his last “I love you” ringing in my ear is better than any Christmas cookie I could possibly make. He is forever in a light of positive happiness and being older and a bit wiser now I just assume keep it that way.
Oh, and reminders of him are everywhere, everyday, mostly when I spend time with my son that was named for him. He was four then and now well, he is just out of college. He shares his namesake’s empathy, kindness, sense of humor, and affectionate nature. Many of our conversations remind me of some I used to have with my brother. It is a blessing for sure.
As for Christmas, well now I have two adorable grandchildren who have brought the ho ho ho back to December. Something I never foresaw coming to make everything special again. Not like it was but special.
The thing I guess I am trying to say is that time doesn’t necessary heal all wounds but it does change your perspective. Time opens your eyes to all the ways your loved one is still here in the most amazing places. Just keep yourself open to them and sometime when the time and situation is right your heart will be mended and full of joy once again. For now though you are allowed to pull Santa’s beard, scratch the Christmas cd’s, and if you manage to buy gifts deliver them unwrapped.
To All Who Are Mourning This Holiday Season My Condolences on Your Loss and My Prayers For Your Healing.