The Grief that Stole Christmas
In my mind today of course I am thinking about Christmas. Looking at Christmases past on social media, remembering how much I put into Christmas before ALS. Each year I was so jolly and even enjoyed the elves’ shenanigans! I have always been a NUT for Christmas to the point that I drove my family nuts. Here is an example of my overzealous behavior: 19 elves. I heard that gasp, students. What a NUT, right?
This year was the year of “The Grief that Stole Christmas” since my sweet husband is celebrating a Celestial Christmas. Some of his best, worn out dad jokes were about canceling Christmas. The closer Christmas came, the more frequent the cancellation threats.This year is a new season, a new normal. I know that I don’t have the corner market for grief, but it really hurts. Writing is therapy, and I am so thankful for all of you, students.
First new normal was no big gathering at our house on Christmas Eve. We always hosted every side of the family and would have sometimes over 50 people, relatives and friends. Then the old Griefy Claus caused a collapse in our world. No gathering. I then had an idea, a wonderful idea! An awesome, wonderful idea! Intimate Christmas Eve with our kids and grandchildren. I was not the most chipper and we were missing two Grands. Guess what happened? We had a fabulous time! We could feel the love. We shared wonderful memories of their Dad, brother, and all of our crazy Christmas past. The new normal will be Christmas Eve with Gram at noon, KFC, and shared time. Enjoying watching the kids play. So Bah Humbug Griefy Claus! The kids were gone and that left the three amigos. Ben, Abbey, and I watched SpongeBob Christmas and so many others. We laughed until we cried. Last but not least, a good, hot shower, tucked tight in bed, It’s A Wonderful Life in color on the bedroom tv, and the sweetest daughter beside me made for the best Christmas Eve ever. Ben was busy with the elf work that robbed my Christmas Eve sleep all those years before as a healthy mom staying up til the wee hours of the morning. I slept like Patrick Star under his rock. (SpongeBob reference, parents!)
Before I knew it, the alarm clock was going off. Ben said, “Mom, we have church.” We had the perfect excuse to stay home. There had been a winter storm with dangerous low temperatures. Don’t forget Griefy Claus! The one thing that Ken never canceled was church on Sunday, especially the high holy days. That was a rule of our Home: God first. It has been our trusted compass. Ben got me up and ready. We gathered the food items for my mother-in-law’s gathering to drop off, then grabbed her for church. Here comes Griefy Claus! She had burst pipes and no electricity. We ended up with a lot of good ham and another gathering collapse. New season. Ben learned to make pecan pie from one of our good friends. We wanted to give something special for people that doesn’t come from a store and means a bit more. I was ever so glad to be in church. I cried but it was tears of joy. My joy meter was 100% before we were to the Gospel. Our daughter leading music and pies for the church family made my heart swell three sizes. Although the other traditional gathering collapsed, a new one was born. We had Ab’s boyfriend pop in and my other son, too. It was like a trip back in time. They were laughing and playing video games. It was the BEST. Just our little brood. I felt Ken and Nick were right there with us. My husband was a father first and foremost. He worked so so hard his entire life for us. The children we shared came through, heavenly and earthly. Grief didn’t stop Christmas. Somehow it came just the same. The love never left us. This morning Ben and I talked about dying young and the old saying only the good die young. This life is so full of grief, the earthly one. It makes a Celestial Christmas sound even better. Not the Monty Python heaven, back row. Stay with me! That is why we believe that there is so much more on the other side. No GRIEF! Let’s not forget that mortality issue. Remember the first time you realized that you were destined to be dust? Eye opener! The whole world does fall in love this time of year. It is the most wonderful time of the year. Why? That’s right front row, light entered the darkness and Jesus Christ entered our earthly drama. He brought the best Christmas gift of all.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Griefy Claus Gal
Quote for the Day:
“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” -Emily Dickinson
“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes part of us.” -Helen Keller
“Say not in grief that they are gone, but give thanks that they were yours.” -Hebrew proverb
Things Griefy Claus taught me:
- Don’t think that my children will love the same tic-tacky Christmas trappings (decorations) putting them up and down! No decorations next year just a tree, the memory one, and one nativity. Peace is better than the grief!
- I get that a new chapter has begun and I have to be a BLT: BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER. There is a purpose for me on this side of heaven.
- I will miss Ken until the day I die.