Daddy’s been gone a little while now.
It’s my 2nd Christmas without him. Two years without him calling on Christmas morning to hear the girls squeal with delight over Santa’s visit. Two years of looking at boiled custard knowing it will last that much longer now without him around.
The first one rendered me numb.
The idea of celebrating anything just months after he died was completely wrong to me. I can’t even remember much about the whole season except I just wanted it to be OVER. I put on the mask for my family and went through the motions, determined to survive. My mechanism was a stone cold heart.
Well, I am a little farther along in my journey now . I know this would not make him happy. He loved holidays and traditions. He loved noise and laughter … and singing…. very bad singing with his grandchildren.
I found myself during this holiday season looking back and reminiscing–how things have changed and how would he want them to be. I came to a conclusion this year, a conclusion I shared with him.
I went over Thanksgiving night. I stood in the middle of the cemetery and thanked God for my daddy. I took my daughter over and we placed Christmas flowers on his headstone. Before I left, I stopped and made one last promise to my father. I promised that this year would be different. I promised that this year I would be different. This year I would try to move on.
I read a quote once that said:
“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.”- Anne Rolphe
This second year, I am choosing to feel everything. I have decked the halls (and everything else for that matter). For so long I blocked out the memories, the holidays and traditions. Like a robot without emotions I moved through life. The pain was just more than I could bear.
I found myself singing Christmas songs today.
In my kitchen, all by myself enjoying the magic of the season. I heard myself explaining the Battle of New Orleans (one of his favorite songs which was on the semester exam) to my daughter for her homework and I smiled. I watch movies and I cry, I hang ornaments and I cry. I remember a lifetime of Christmases and I cry.
I cry at everything … and it is good.
Can there really such a thing?
My heart is forever broken, but the sharp edges are beginning to fade. The wound doesn’t bleed like it once did. It seems to me that some people heal in months, while others take a lifetime. I am finding myself in a new place the time of year where the memories that are surfacing are more comforting than haunting. I am finding myself telling stories again. I am telling his stories again.
Are you suffering with grief this holiday season? Share your story with us–what is hurting you? Let us pray for you that, that Christ’s peace–the Prince of Peace–will consume your heart.