For about 5 years now we have celebrated Christmas when everyone is home. Sometimes that has meant waiting until January 30th, but usually it means the first day after Honey Bear is able to go on leave. Celebrating a week or two before the official date doesn’t change the meaning of the festivities… For us the holidays is a chance for family to come together and to be whole again. We don’t have to wait until we are given permission… we chose how and when we honor the best in each of us. We celebrate Christmas on our own schedule.
This year in particular I am glad that we have this tradition in our home. Last year my mother passed away on the 23rd of December. Because of our family tradition this sadness and grief came after our festivities. Everything was very rushed and a lot of people were not understanding. It forced me inwards and I closed a lot of doors. I don’t regret it because I needed to be around people who loved and supported me. I want to apologize to my friends who were hurt or ignored because I became more introverted and antisocial…
Looking back 2013 was difficult and I will admit I was slightly bitter. We rushed home. Even with a Red Cross message we were not granted emergency leave and my husband was sent off to Drill School. Later he was injured. It was not enough that he had survived being shot at, in a roll over, and falling from a cliff in Afghanistan… or blown up by an IED in Iraq. Now stateside a training leader ran him over. The stress… the worry.
Will there ever be time to breathe? It seems that when you are weak and vulnerable fate will throw everything at you. Why?
What would be the purpose of such a test? Who could benefit from such pain?
For the last 8 years it seemed like all the bad things that happened were in the winter months. A couple years ago I had seen a counselor and it helped. It help to end a toxic relationship with a friend. Especially during my husband’s last deployment when I had fallen into depression.
Talking out things that frustrated me with someone who was objective… a sounding board who wasn’t going to judge me or talk behind my back. I was able to see my priorities clearly and the confidence in my decisions.
I was finally thinking that I was in the clear… The counselor and I decided I no longer needed her services. I decided to visit my mother in California a couple months later. It was overdue. Things didn’t seem that bad and I thought we were going to make it through 2012 without suffering… but I was wrong. After she died I wanted to talk to that lady, but we were moving. So I continued my therapy in my own way and I blogged…
I didn’t know that my mother’s death would foreshadow 2013 with such intensity. I didn’t know how much it would influence my life. Many nights I thought of all the people who lost someone and wondered… Why do we ignore those who suffer the most, when they need it the most?
Even though all of my favorite holidays are in the fall and winter months. I found I didn’t care to celebrate. Where did the magic go? Even the years when I had nothing to give my children, I still found hope. I struggled to do things this year for the sake of the kids.
Most of the time I was thinking… Why bother allowing the Christmas spirit into my home? Only to be ripped apart when unguarded…
Luckily friends nearby staged an intervention. One had me bring the kids over to her house. Watching the kids decorate their cookies made my heart smile.
I could almost hear Christmas music.
Several dear friends sent Christmas cards.
It surprised me to find that each card was like a warm hug… as if to tell me it would be okay.
It made me realized I never sent my Christmas cards out from last year…
I wonder how many friends could have used those extra blessings? Could have used a warm hug and a smile… Something to let them know I was thinking of them? I looked for addresses and sent them a hug of my own. Have I told you that I missed your company?
Getting back into the groove of being more social I had met a lady at a Fort Benning vendor event. Somehow we found ourselves talking about the ones we lost. I was tearing up and quickly apologized. She told me I had nothing to apologize for. Then she told me something I will always treasure…
She said she was glad she still cried, because it let her know how much she still loved them.
I really needed to hear that…
After celebrating Christmas last week, a friend invited me over for the weekend. There was something about that trip that made my heart smile more. There must have been magic in that pumpkin pie she made me.
Maybe it was the sand between my toes or being immersed in the cold salt water. The push and the pull of the current. The shocking cold and the comfort when that wave hits you. This is where I belong. I began to wonder what it would be like to be a mermaid. I would have given anything for a tail right then!
Once again I found my strength to be more than my sadness. I felt the burden of grief had been lifted from me. I found myself laughing from that place where that inner child lives. On the drive home I thought..that it was fitting that my Oma left this world the same week she came into it. She was a child of the season. She is the spirit of the holidays. When we hold each other tight we honor her. When we smile and laugh we honor her.
Returning home to continue the festivities with my family I allowed myself to feel the joy of the season. I could feel the magick of hope and love all around me. I felt the inspiration of the season and gave into it. I even baked more pumpkin pies, but it did not have the same magic as the one my friend gave me. Just as well. The best things can not be replicated.
Over the last year I discovered that she is not in an urn or a box…
To my children she watches over us from a candle.
To me she is the super star of every Korean Drama. She could have used her life to write stories and make millions. Sadly her story ended before it found her happy ending…
To me she is a scoop of Godvia Dark Chocolate that she would put in her coffee. Because dark chocolate was healthy. Because it made her smile to drink it together.
The pain doesn’t go away. The careful plans for the future are gone. New ones are being made. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Who can really say? All I know is that each moment is precious. Spend the time you have with your loved ones wisely. Say the things that need to be said. Do the things that mean the most to you. If you can do this than you can live a life with no regrets.
Thank you for understanding that I needed to grieve. Thank you for holding my hand by sharing the happy moments in your life with me. It reminded me that there was still good in the world. Life still had more to offer us.
I want to be there for each of you, the way you have been there for me. Whatever you are going through or whatever you stand in need of, May 2014 be a Blessing to you my friend.