Finding Joy Despite The Sadness

Every Christmas Eve, I usually write my Christmas blog. It’s usually late, when I get back from church. However, this year I am writing it before…. Just not sure what I will have left later on tonight. From my heart to yours….

And so it is… Christmas time has crawled its way back again, sneaking up on me like the one person you try to avoid in a crowded room. There they are. And you have to talk to them regardless of how you feel.

Last Christmas felt the same. Some kind of dread… knowing mom wasn’t well. However, showing up last year I didn’t really understand at the time that Christmas day would be spent in it’s entirety saying goodbye. I think back now and wonder how that all happened and how it came to be… How we knew that we would just never see her again. She was gone the next day. Last Christmas is not anything at all close to a day I want to hold onto and remember, yet I do. And with all the sadness came a freeing moment of laying my head on her chest and listening to her heart beat for the last time. There is something about having that moment on Christmas day at 3 o’clock  in the afternoon.

This year, there is none of that. No option to say goodbye again. No hand to hold or cheek to kiss. Yet it feels very much the same. Sad. Empty. Staring at a Christmas tree that sparkles less than usual. It’s hard. But what’s harder is shutting out the joy that exists naturally this time of year.

Mom loved Christmas. The music, the decorations, the candles and bells and singing and food. Church on Christmas Eve and presents and pretty things and the smell the house always had when she made the pot of clove, cinnamon and orange/cranberry on the stove that made the whole house smell festive. And she teared up when she heard O Holy Night sung in the most beautiful of voices. But most of all, the time with her family was what she cherished. She WAS everything Christmas is about.

This year, I will sing carols and sit with Dad in church. I will hold candles and hands and hearts with a little more gusto. I will look at the pretty lights and find their sparkle. I will shed some tears, but I will smile and laugh and take it all in. I will pray… for peace and love and strength for when I miss her the most. I will spend time with my family and those I love deeply. I will allow the hurt and the sadness and the pain, but I will offer them a quiet, soft place to rest, and then I will ask them to leave when they are ready.

I will long to give more than I receive, I will dance and laugh and sing.
I will find joy despite the sadness these next few days.

Because in the true spirit of Christmas, that’s what Mom would want.

Merry Christmas. And Much love to each and every one of you.

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