One part of the holiday is over and another looms on the horizon. The problem is that it marks with vast distinction 6 months since our son’s death on January 2nd. Anticipation of Christmas was worse than the actual day. I continue to find myself thinking that he is here somewhere, I picture him, hear what he might be saying in any given situation.
We filled up the days as full as possible prior to Christmas, thanks to friends. Our daughter and her husband came home and we really did not venture out much, revolving in a pretty tight little group. It was a test of our ability to tolerate each other.
I felt like we were off balance with our son not being here. As after an injury to the body, we are learning to walk again. We limp. There is a hesitation that occurs when we used to be sure of ourselves. It would probably not be apparent to the casual observer, but we are so aware of it, shielding ourselves from potential bumps and encounters that could re-injure.
We did not go to church on Christmas day. Not that our tradition does much concerning the holiday – though perhaps now-because of some shifts there may have been more reference made. Our church focuses more on the death and sacrifice of Christ, which could not have occurred had he not been born, a point that seems to be lost on our group as a whole. The beginning of the hope needs more focus I think – the beginning of any hope should be celebrated.
I am trying to refocus on my faith. My son’s passing could not have been neater or tidier. My own emotional mess, anger and frustration with the things I had held as true and infallible has been anything but tidy. My resolution is to sort through these things inch by inch and pound by emotional pound, distilling out what I can in faith, hold on to.
There is no possible way to prepare yourself for the loss of a loved one. It is not a natural part of our way of thinking. We live without meaning to, taking most of what is, for granted. Transition has been greased with technology and masses of information – so much is spoon fed without having to dig for it or work to understand. We gullibly accept so much information at face value, becoming a slave to convenience and status quo.
Religion has taken advantage of this where sweet and easily swallowed truisms have been substituted for the hard stuff – the loving your neighbor as yourself stuff. We leave the messy things to the hard core of the religious world, throwing our nickels in the bell ringers pot and maybe writing an anonymous check for someone’s Christmas lay-away.
Death will bring you face to face with everything you thought you ever believed and I will tell you as someone who has run into that wall – it is hard and painful.
So if you are looking for a resolution to add to those you (like me) will probably never accomplish, here are a few.
I want to learn to love more without condition.
I will not require others to behave the way I want them to.
I will stop and consider what their circumstances may be.
I will exercise empathy.
I will stop holding others to standards I have never met.
I will pray for wisdom every day.
I don’t know that God has ever promised to grant anything else, so I will pray for what I know I do not have- wisdom-and search for evidence of it every day.
I will never let another person I know part from me without making sure they know how much they mean to me. Never. And if they leave and I have been remiss, I will track them down, and I will let them know, as far as it is within my ability.
I miss my son and now even at 6 months the reality is hard to comprehend. Now having had my daughter and her husband here for a few days, I miss them too, but as I used to with my son, I can picture them continuing on as they should with their life when they are not present with me.
It is that illusion of control we use to sooth ourselves.
I hope your holiday held joy, in whatever measure and peace.