Christmas Peace

It took me completely by surprise at our Christmas family gathering. My sister-in-love has a pretty purple tree covered with lots of beautiful little ornamental fairies, butterflies and other mini-sized trinkets. Earlier I had noticed a few small picture frame ornaments with photos of SIL's mom and dad who have passed away. Later in the day, I sort of heard my sister speaking to me as I was looking all around the tree again, sort of lost in my own world.  Suddenly her voice came into my listening space and she said  "that must have been at A & K's wedding. Doesn't she look great?"   My gaze zeroed in on what my sister was referring too, and I realized it was a picture of our mom smiling beautifully wearing a lovely red dress. My breath was taken away and I kept saying to my sister, "wait, is that our mom?? That's mom!?!"  Then I dissolved into a quiet sob.  In a low voice I said to my sister that I've been missing Mom so much this past year.  And since that moment on Saturday, I've been in a very melancholy mood and weepy every time I think of Mom. And you know what?  It's okay and it's not taking anything away from this Christmas holiday. 

I'm so thankful that I didn't grow up in an environment that focused on dates, memories or situations that came along with pain and hence forth believed that forever after that date was ruined or tarnished.  I believe that's probably what let me spend many a holiday without my sons when they were younger, without Cliff when he was in his addiction, or without the presence of any of those I loved. 

I was reading a post today written by Alissa Parker. The Parker's are one of the families that lost their beautiful first grader in last year's Sandy Hook tragedy.  How they've handled their pain and grief is enlightening and healthy.  As codependents or enablers, we've often stuffed our feelings in an effort to get everyone onto the same page or we've given our best effort to make everything appear as if nothing's missing or wrong.  How refreshing it is to be able to shed a few tears for a few minutes and then move on. And sometimes they are shed again and then you move on again.  It's not a lock down of grief but a process of moving through hurt or pain.  It's living life that is filled with all kinds of emotions and events and we need to give ourselves the gift of balance.  Mourning and dancing truly can be done in the same memory!! 

Don't cling to your hurts.  Embrace the joy and face the grief head on.  It's not a battle you're in. These are allowable feelings and healing is sure to follow.  No one or nothing can ruin your holiday unless you give them permission to do so.  My sons addiction had nothing to do with the birth of God's only son, Jesus. Shed a tear if necessary and then look for the Light of Life as you take the next right step. Practice the Steps you've learned.  May the truth of Christmas be welcomed into your thinking as you take care of yourself in the days ahead.