A passage I have always loved is "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep," but what happens when people do those things at the same time?
When Mum passed away, we did not mourn as others mourned. We had Faith that she was not gone, she just relocated, and we will see her again. Our anticipatory grieving had our hearts and minds unravelling for years, but we rejoiced in our hope and in knowing she was no longer suffering. Confusion was particularly prominent the weeks surrounding her death. Last year Dad, Shanae and I celebrated Christmas. We already knew it was going to be different last year with Aubrey and Sara being away on their honeymoon, but without Mum as well, it was quite an awful occasion. We went through the motions, and I clung to our childhood traditions, trying to clasp an essence of festive normality.
I am reminded of Mum's absence every day and special occasions are times when we would all definitely be together. So whilst preparing for our annual get together, as well as rejoicing with those who rejoice at this time, we will mourn with others who mourn. Like every day, it will be hard. Because I now understand this more, I am aware of others close to me who are struggling this month, and would like to make you aware of them also to keep them in thoughts and prayers.
One of my school friends passed away recently, and I am reminded of another school friend who's brother was found drowned in a river about two years ago.
We have family friends are going through tough times with the Mother having been diagnosed with terminal cancer in the summer.
Other friends have just had twins, both in and out of ICU at just a month old today, whilst also caring for their other two children at home.
Another of my friends feels she can't celebrate Christmas this year, it wouldn't feel right without her Grandfather around; whilst another friend's family will try and celebrate Christmas even though their Mother decided to leave them a few months ago.
A guy I know is having to face the possibility of getting a prosthetic foot for Christmas this year, he's in constant agonising pain with it but uses his situation to encourage others around him in hospital. A true fighter.
I read an article
about a couple who know their baby is going to die soon after the birth
at Christmas. They will have spent just over 9 months with their
daughter, the majority of it without seeing what she looks like.
These are just a few of the situations I am aware of, there are several more I haven't mentioned, including things on the news, and I know you know hundreds more. Whilst some may wish to forget their troubles and anxieties at Christmas time others can not, and must soldier on, knowing they won't have a normal, happy Christmas this year - and maybe not ever again.
Santa's Grottos, bright lights, red hats and rosy smiling faces, the Christmas hustle and bustle is something which can not easily be escaped for those who may wish to dodge it this year. For those worrying about things other than matching Christmas crackers, well-wrapped gifts, uneven window lights and misspelled greetings cards, my heart goes out to you. I pray that you find a peace in the chaos of the season, I hope you find a joy in today just like any other day and I wish you all the best in whatever you find yourself doing this month.
If you are wanting to do something to help those perhaps not looking forward to the holiday season because they aren't able to celebrate, Shelter and Operation Christmas Child are two great charities which you can look into and maybe even help them along in their quest to spread the love.