We are poised on the brink of the holiday whirlwind. Shoppers have started buying, decorations are up, and some are lighted. Some of us would like to pull a quilt over our heads and wake up January 4. Since that probably isn't feasible for most people, we will try to give you tools to help you get through the next few weeks as well as possible. We want not only to survive, but to provide a nice holiday season for those we love who are with us, as well as time to remember and honor the ones we love who are celebrating in heaven this year."
My first thought was, "How did she know that I wanted to pull a blanket over my head and wake up Jan. 4?" Then I quickly remembered that she's been there, done that, too. As another bereaved parent, she knows. Yet she and her husband are much, much farther down the road of grief. (20+ years, in fact.) It's exactly for this reason that I am so thankful for the Compassionate Friends group and the wonderful people we've met through it. Because of their transparency, compassion, and dedication to minister to other bereaved parents, I am able to see that life without my son is not only possible, but can be joyful and meaningful. These parents are a tremendous source of encouragement. They are people who do not limit grief to a specific amount of time and are always willing to listen as we struggle through ambushes of grief, even if those ambushes are years down the road.
The Compassionate Friends meeting this month couldn't happen at a better time. While I have much to be thankful for, the reality is that grief and joy now coexist. Holidays are a mix of apprehension and settled assurance(joy). Apprehension because there's no dodging the bullet, the empty chair at the table remains empty. Assurance because what remains is deeply appreciated and not taken for granted.
So while I want nothing more than to pull up the covers over my head and wake up Jan. 4th, I know that's also not an option. I will look to God for strength and hope, and I know He will not disappoint. As we gather around our table for Thanksgiving, I will remember that He has been good. His grace is sufficient, and we are blessed. May your holiday be filled with comfort, peace, and joy from the One true source of all comfort, peace, and joy.
P.S. - Don't forget! The Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony is Sunday, December 8, 7-8pm. This is to commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon.