In the midst of he holiday season, I’m trying to forget about my current state of being. Christmas has always been such a joyous occasion for our family, but this year, I feel anything but joyous. So as a result, I have feelings of guilt about that statement, because, for all of my life, I have considered myself to be a strong Christian. But, somehow, not feeling the joy of the season, even in my grief, makes me wonder….have I truly been celebrating Christmas for all these years for the right reason? I mean….have I lost what Christmas really means if I don’t feel like celebrating? And then I have the guilt of feeling this way because of the ones that are still with me. I mean, how selfish is it that I am only thinking how I’m feeling during this season?
Do you see it? The inconsistency….the erratic emotion…from one extreme to the other? I’m at a point in my journey where it seems as though I’ve lost my ability to find the words to completely express how I feel and how I feel about the loss of Aaron. And….probably….some are tired of hearing about our loss….about our “new normal”. Don’t get me wrong….I’ve had and we do have good days. but I bask in those days, because I think that Aaron would want me to be happy. But the reality of the loss has never been more glaringly obvious than in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving….and now Christmas. I find the anger resurfacing again with a vengeance. I try to control it and to box it up inside, but it just won’t stay there. I find that the anger begins to simmer deep within….and then, before I know it, it’s reached the point of boiling within a very short period of time. It’s then that the anger comes alive….it’s like it takes on its own life, stretching out of the “box”, slowly and methodically spreading its dark and slender fingers…dancing across my heart until it finally has gripped my heart with a menacing grasp….as if to say…”Now, I’ve got you, and I’m NOT letting go.” I’ve spoken of this anger before, but it has rejuvenated and has gained strength during a time that is typically jovial and merry for many. I could have never understood what people meant when they said, “The holidays are often hard for many….let’s remember those who are hurting this season.” These words reverberate in my soul this season…since I never really understood the magnitude of them before. So, now the anger grips my heart with a renewed strength, while I have sitten by and have let that happen. I have let the wolf in sheep’s clothing come in, during my weakness, so that he could prey on that weakness. And here I am….angry at the season….the trees, the music, the decorations, the lights….everything that once brought me joy….now causes anger to seep from my pores. I have become the Grinch of Christmas or Ebeneezer Scrooge…. fearful of what Chirstmas will mean for them and what past Chrismases have proven to be for them, therefore, anger is bread out of fear of past experiences and what Christmas will mean for them in the present.
But as I think about Aaron and all of my kids….I think that they wouldn’t want me to be angry during this joyful and thankful time of year. Aaron would want me to celebrate….even more so this year. I know that I can’t celebrate with him here, but I can celebrate for where he is….and for the 23 years I had him. Yes, that was an incredibly short amount of time, but there are so many lessons to be learned from those 23 years. One of those lessons is perseverance….Aaron may not have persevered at the desires of others..but he did persevere with his desires. Once he determined something in his mind..he would continue his pursuit until the desired goal was reached. He was a determined young man. Another quality of Aaron’s that taught me so much…was that even if someone disappointed him, he could find reason to LET IT GO. And not not only did he let it go, he learned to forgive…..something I am still working on. Something Aaron has and continually teaches through the words he spoke to me before he died. His words continue to ripple out beyond me….to those that he knew and didn’t know. His rippled effect continues to touch, impact, and affect change in the lives of others even now.
I would like to think that Aaron would be sitting beside Taylor and I saying , “Remember all the times we saw Rudolph in the car?” As mom, I used to act like the red lights on top of the radio towers were Rudolph. I would get the kids so excited saying…”I see him….there’s Rudolph!” We would talk about how quickly we needed to get home. The kids would get so excited….so much so that their legs and feet would bounce up and down….creating havoc for the person riding in the front seat; which would, in turn, would excite me. And then there were the cookies…we always left cookies and milk out and would take our ceremonious picture of leaving cookies out for Santa. I so looked forward to Christmas each year for that excitement…While at the same time, “remembering the Reason for the Season”. I used to LOVE the expressions on the faces of both Aaron and Taylor on Christmas morning. Their expressions beamed of unmitigated innocence, light-hearted carefreeness, and complete and utter happiness. And then when we had moved to Tennessee….Christmas was still about time together with family….presents….of course….but the main part to me was spending time with each other. Now we had a new family dynamic that took some time for all of us to adjust to, but all in all, we made an adjustment that worked for us. It was a time to look forward to…..time with all 4 kids….and now time with the grandkids. THIS is what is keeping me grounded….my brother and Aaron aren’t here, but I know that they would want us to clebrate Christmas…..for the right reason….not just for the presents….because they are celebrating with the One whom Christmas is all about. We have in the past acknowledgd what Christmas is about, but I’ll be honest….we’ve gotten caught up in the season of buying and giving. That’s not the reason at all….so this year, I strive to celebrate Christmas this year for the right reason. I’m not sure what that looks like….but I will come up with something. The thing to focus on this year is that we have each other left…..and we focus on Jesus…who died for us….who was beautifully broken for our transgressions….who was beautifully broken for our redemption and for grace….who was beautifully broken to save us.
I refuse to let the anger hold onto my heart….tthinking about celebrating for those we have lost, celebrating for the right reason, and celebrating who we have with us has made me realize that while I can be broken in my celebration….I can change my perspective on how TO celebrate which might still leave me broken at times, but now I will be beautifully broken in my celebration. Yes, I may still cry….yes, I may still feel sad….but now I will focus my celebration OF/FOR the deceased, FOR the right reason, FOR the ones we still have with us. But…..beauty will come from the brokenness and from the ashes….somehow….someway. I don’t pretend to know the how and the way….I’ll just leave that up to Him.
Dedicated to all who have lost children, siblings, mothers, fathers, spouses, grandparents, close friends….and anyone that is grieving the absence of someone this Holiday Season. You are not alone. Reach out on the blog if you are feeling particularly alone in your grief