I lost my daddy on December 16th, at 1:30 in the afternoon. While I have realized and understood that losing someone during the holidays is even more difficult then at other times of the year, I never really appreciated why. Grief and Christmas do not mix well. Compounded, in our house, with the littles - at just two and four, they were unable to comprehend what had happened, and we could not deny them the thrill and anticipation of Christmas and Santa. I also realize that for most of the world - it is still the most joyous season of all. I have tried not to be a dark cloud, but at the same time - you do not get to choose when to grieve, which is unfortunate because I had scheduled my grief for today...and it wouldn't come. Instead it comes in small pockets: When I put the puzzle together that has each grandparent hiding under a puzzle piece and I don't even notice what's happening until I find his piece and am overcome. Sitting in the doctor's office, and he asks for my family history, and I just break down right there. Starting to call everyone on Christmas morning and realizing that I cannot. This season is loud - it's something that I combat each year. Trying to drown out the commercialism and the busyness so that I can remember what it is we celebrate. This year has been deafening - the seasonal noise compounded by all of these obligations to take care of. What I need is quiet, and space, and time. When I do find these small pockets of space to stand in and be still - I find my Abba waiting. To hear the Spirit of God you really must be quiet - not because God cannot speak loudly, but because, no matter how loudly He speaks, we cannot hear when our spirit is in turmoil and flailing for answers. But once we exhaust ourselves searching for meaning and explanation, and we lie in a heap, broken and seemingly defeated, this is when God gently covers us and whispers the eternal messages of love and hope, of forgiveness and assurance. "This is not the end, and things left undone on earth are completed to perfection in our heavenly home. Do not weep for what might have been, but look forward to the joyful completion." This is God's quiet voice in my heart. That is such a beautiful reassurance for me, this idea that things left undone are one day completed. There is never enough time, and sometimes the time you have serves to complicate things rather than resolving them. I was not a perfect daughter, I know that. It is easy to re-write history and to cast everyone into villain or hero roles, but the reality is we all perform a one man or one woman show while we are here, and we play both the villain and the hero many times over. There always seems like there will be more time, or you will find the magic words, and sometimes there simply is not enough time, and the words do not come. Dad's memorial was an amazingly restorative and filling day - we invited his closest friends and family to come and sit with us and share stories and memories. Dad spent 18+ years in AA - and many of the people he sponsored over the years came, as well as just fellow AA members who were his friends. The love they have for him and the impact he had in so many lives....it was just amazing. Families restored and created - accredited to him. It is such an honor to see the sides of him that we knew of, but did not get to see fully. I talked about how he wanted my brother and I to be 'well-rounded' and I felt, at the end of the day, we had a very 'well-rounded' picture of dad. I think everyone walked away with a fuller picture of who he was and the impact he had on us all. I believe in Heaven. I believe my dad is in Heaven. I believe he is with his momma and his daddy. I believe that he is surrounded by family and friends and I believe that every relationship is perfected and complete. I believe he loves me and knows me fully and I believe that one day I will join him and know him fully, and our relationship will be perfected. In the meantime I will honor all the love and effort he poured into my life over the years. I will take my children to the theatre to see the Nutcracker. I will show them how to embrace life and have fun. I will remind them that they had a Grandpa that was larger than life. I will tell them the stories of the people he has helped over the years. I will not, however, tell them how fast he drove. Most of all though - I will anticipate our perfected reunion... "This is not the end, and things left undone on earth are completed to perfection in our heavenly home. Do not weep for what might have been, but look forward to the joyful completion." This is God's quiet voice in my heart. God, help me to hear... 20121227-200722.jpg [fbshare]
We took the kids on a carriage ride tonight. Carriage rides are pretty cool, even for grown ups, so the kids were really excited. This actually went a step further though - this carriage ride was with Santa Claus. It was perfect. We went to the square in downtown Springfield. They have lights up everywhere and a gigantic Christmas tree all lit up. The kids were running around, looking at the tree, climbing into/under the tree, just having a blast and then we begin to hear jingle bells. We look down the street and here comes two beautiful, big, black horses pulling a wonderful white carriage - and Santa was driving! He pulls into the square and rides right in front of us over to the corner and stops. We follow him as fast as their little legs would go and then, we are right there in front of Santa himself. Big grins, little giggles, and then the nervousness begins to appear. Grace starts looking at everyone from the top of her eyes, little chin tucked down. Still smiling, definitely happy to be there, but making herself a tiny package. Elijah - Elijah seems to grow larger in front of our eyes. Big smiles, lots of questions, in charge. And once again I am amazed at these two individuals we are raising. These two distinct people with their own take on the world. There is a part of me that longs for Grace to break free and be confidant - well, rather to look confidant. You see, she is confidant - but she is also very introspective. I've no doubt she knows every single word that was said during that ride. She could give us a hundred details. My girl is an observer - and a very good one. Elijah on the other hand - he experiences things. His memory would have less detail but much more emotion. One of the thousands of reasons that I'm happy to be an older parent is that I'm much more comfortable just letting them be who they are. I think, if I had been a mother in my twenties, I would have had a harder time just letting them be - I would have wanted to jump in there and make them be like I thought they should be. I wouldn't have understood how broad the spectrum is of what works in this world. Lots of ways work that are not my ways. I'm much more cognizant of that. That's not to say that I don't try and draw Grace out some, or try to contain Elijah some. I do. I want to encourage them to try new things and to be brave. I even want them to fail, so they know they can survive failure. But mostly I want to contain myself, sit back, and let them experience things the way they want to and need to. I want to be there to wink at Grace when she peeks at Santa and then over to me. I love the smile I get from her - that smile says, "Thanks for being right there, no closer and no further away." I like being her safe harbor. I love Elijah's looks too - those looks that say, "Thanks for letting me push just far enough." I am his safe harbor too - even if he doesn't realize that's what he is looking for when he looks at me with that adventurous gleam in his eye. On the way to the carriage ride, Grace was asking about ice skating and if there was a place we could try to skate. I told her I wasn't sure, to ask her Dad because he knows everything. She replied, "Oh, yes. He is the Great Knower of Things." I chuckled and said, "Yes - he is." And then my sensitive girl said, "Mommy, you know things, too. You know things and daddy knows things." "Thanks, sweetie," I replied. It was one of those moments when you just think, "Who is this magnificent being and why was I chosen to lead her through this life?" Those moments sneak up on you like that. You think you're talking about ice skating and all of a sudden they are revealing who they are to you. Who they are becoming. I am so very thankful to parent them. I am so very thankful for this magical season that we get to enjoy. I am so thankful. 20121206-224247.jpg
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