Most Wonderful Time of the Year?


As of late I have been reading more about other parents struggles than writing about my own. It is not necessarily comforting although it does help a little to know that I am not alone. Grief for a beloved child is one of the wounds that time does not heal.
I speculate as to whether it forms a scar for some that is always tender and at times very obvious. I have met some parents who cannot help but wear their loss that way and believe me I don’t blame them.
This will be the fourth Christmas Holiday without our son and the first where some other changes have taken place. I realize as I write that that with the passing of time there are always changes taking place yet we do not stand by to mark them so indelibly.
Perhaps that is why I have not written as much lately. There are personal things with family members that I cannot write about -yet they are life altering, major changes, that bring with them a certain amount of grief.
So every year for those of us who remain Christmas comes at us beginning right after Halloween, plowing down Thanksgiving to get to us with its hand out, commercials blazing in the background.
Every sentimental ploy, every heart-wrenching image, tender children’s faces alight with the hope of “what they will get” are quite literally everywhere.
Sweet loving couples in the snow embracing while new cars, new diamond rings, new (you fill in the blank) light up their eyes and appear to warm the cockles of their heart. And for someone watching, alone on the couch it breaks a heart and they have to turn away because that should be their son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister – who is gone or else never lived long enough to come to that milestone. But the advertisers have a right to air their commercials so after New Year the financial analysts can praise or despair over how much money was spent for the Christmas season.
This has become the measure.
But what does it really cost?
If we could picture it like a pyramid what would comprise the base layer? I don’t know how it would be built but piled up on it would certainly be a selection of the following:
Elderly persons who wish they were remembered and send out obligatory checks to children/grandchildren/nieces and nephews.
Parents who do not have the means to buy their children the things that they want, see other children have because it would mean not paying heating bills/ food or rent.
Children who do not understand why their parents appear nervous/anxious/and downright sad during this time when we are being told by the TV it is the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Then somewhere in the mix are those of us who have lost someone so dear to us. This time of year with the New Year rushing right in behind us underscores and spotlights what we have been working so hard for the past year to get through.
Sadly there are so many that are a combination of all of these and more things I have not even thought about.
Looking at photos on Facebook after Thanksgiving of families together and celebrating each other was both beautiful and gut-wrenching. Looking back at the last Christmas my family had together is gut-wrenching yet priceless.
Yet lost in all of this – trampled under the tinsel and purchases and mistletoe is a story of birth and eventual loss. Mary bore a child and lost him. Whether you or anyone believes he was the Son of God or not – history bears out the fact he was born and his earthly body died. Mary cradled him to her in birth and in death. And though my own religious tradition did not have us venerate Mary in any way I think of her in relation to her son. I don’t know how she did it because I don’t know how I do it.
Mothers and Fathers throughout time have been where I am and sadly there will be more.
So for Mary’s sake, though I doubt seriously that she bore her baby Jesus on December 25th I will be thankful. I may not get any decorations on the tree this year, but that will only make it a Christmas that I will remember for some other reason.
As for advice if there is any to be had concerning what I would have others do at this time of year? Survive as best you can and be easy on yourself. Toys and clothes and electronic devices will break and wear out and be discarded. Smiles, laughter, times of playing games together and stories read while being snuggled close – they will be remembered. Food shared over a table, regardless of the menu, with family members serving family members and enjoying whatever is offered – that is nourishment.
We know that but why do we forget it? Why do we allow ourselves to be dazzled by the tinsel and the hype?
Did Mary hear the angel’s voices singing? Or was she napping from her labor? I can tell you from the moment she put that tiny face to her breast she fell in love and if she ever prayed, she prayed then.
So keep the holiday without being swept away. Even at its best there will probably be disappointment. But remember buried in the heart of it all – in your heart too -is relationship. Relationship between parent and child, husband and wife, brother and sister – relationship between God and man. Happy Holidays.

About pathfinder

Artist, Writer, Walking wounded.
This entry was posted in Coping with the Death of a Child, Family, Friends, Holidays and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

  1. JoAnn Fisher-Scholtz says:

    I so relate to your writings. I wish you would take all of them and fashion them into a book. After the loss of my son, I would read anything I could find regarding the loss of a child. Hope someone would have the magic formula. I found you ~ and you helped me, more than you could ever know. Blessings ~ Jodi

  2. lensgirl53 says:

    Beautifully written and speaks to many hearts who have lost. I, too, have thought about Mary being the mother to my Savior and how she not only bore him but witnessed his horrific death. I have thought of the first couple, Adam and Eve, who lost a son. To King David and Bathsheba, Job, etc….the list is long. To me, it is a reminder that our human perception of the “order of death” is somewhat lost on the examples in the Bible. There is no real order…if anything, we lose at any time with no particular time frame concerning age. To have a child is a risk we take because of love, and it is because of our natural desire for that kind of unconditional love that we are willing. It is because of that relationship that we who have lost grieve deeply.

    My wish for you it to have a peace filled and blessed Christmas as we celebrate the babe who gave us hope.

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