Where do you find yourself in the grief process this holiday season? We can each make a personal mark on the grief “timeline”: whether newly bereaved…all the way to being a seasoned griever. Whatever mark we chose, or rather, has been chosen for us this year can bring blessings~ perhaps bittersweet~ but blessings nonetheless.
I’d like to share an experience that warmed my heart and brought healing and comfort to an otherwise difficult holiday season. It happened just three years ago several months after the loss of our fourth baby in 1999. December was upon us, and the burdens of the holiday season felt all mine. Purchasing gifts, sending cards, wrapping, baking, decorating, all the trims of the season were overwhelming me. In retrospect, I see now that I had chosen the burdens that year. I had chosen to continue in our traditional Christmas for my family’s sake, despite my own lack of enthusiasm within the grief of the loss of our baby. Everything seemed to take an inordinate amount of energy those days, which is so common in bereaved persons.
One morning in mid-December, an “Angel” appeared at our front door. It so happened that it was her one day off that week in her busy nursing career. In she marched, bearing “gifts” from the local 7-11 store: hot chocolate, her own coffee and pretzels and lollipops for our toddler! After a few minutes of pleasantries, my angel barked out the “orders of the day”! She came to wrap gifts, play Christmas music and to simply “BE” together.
What a GIFT! My dear friend shared her holiday sprit when I had none. The greatest gift of all was her acceptance of me. She didn’t seem to mind that I was not “good company” or “in the mood”. And by the close of that afternoon, every gift was wrapped and my heart was indeed much lighter. It was filled with love.
Jayne shared the real gift of Christmas on that dreary day. Thankfully, I was able to receive her gift. “Being needy” wasn’t a feeling that I was comfortable with, but that’s exactly the place where I was that year. Once I was able to accept that, the more familiar it became. Being on the “receiving end” took practice. Thank goodness my friend had the foresight and generosity of heart to be there for me. The remembrance of Jayne’s selflessness warms me to this day and I enjoy sharing the memory with others. She taught me several lessons that year, most importantly that “it’s ok not to be ok”. As someone who strives to care for the needs of my family and keep it all together, that was a huge lesson.
Where are you this holiday season? Perhaps you are the “needy one”, deep in grief. Or perhaps you are more “seasoned” and have the ability to reach out to another individual or family who have just recently lost their loved one, their precious baby. There are gifts in the giving and the receiving; you need only to be open to them.
My prayer for you this holiday season is to be surprised by an angel…
or to surprise someone with your angelic ways. Enjoy the benefits of both!
God bless you always!