Grief, especially around the holidays, is difficult. Although I knew it would be, I didn’t think it would be this bad. Well, so much for thinking. Dread is creeping in as Thanksgiving and Christmas approaches. No one would know it by looking at me; I could probably win an academy award for my performance … But, if there were a window to my heart, one would see it breaking into little pieces.
My mom was always a holiday early bird … the first one to start preparing menus, decorating and making lists of cards to send and gifts to buy. I caught her infectious enthusiasm and became an early bird too … Until now.
This is the first holiday season without her, and it’s a week before Thanksgiving, and nothing is done. I would already have Christmas cards and gifts ready for mailing, I’d have everything purchased for Thanksgiving dinner and a menu planned for Christmas.
Following advice from professionals, and after a heart-to-heart with my dad today, we decided to change it up a bit this year by breaking traditions and doing everything differently. We are hoping a change will lessen the pain, and I know mom would want us to do whatever we need to do.
Regardless of how or where we celebrate, I know we'll still shed some tears, but that’s okay too. Washington Carver said it best: “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”
We might be doing things differently this year, but one tradition my mother started many years ago will continue. After grace at Christmas dinner she always said, “Happy Birthday, Jesus.” I’ll say it this year and smile, knowing she’s telling Him in person.