Today would have been my Dad’s 91st Birthday. My Mom died nearly a year ago on December 15th. Needless to say, this has been an emotional month for me–beginning Thanksgiving week. Tom has spent lots of time comforting and holding me when the tears were unavoidable. What a gift his broad shoulders are to me.
Yesterday our son, Jason, posted a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that was exactly what I needed to hear.
This time of year is a great temptation for many to be sad, discouraged or lonely.
My prayer is that the following quote will help you realize what a blessing it is to experience such “emptiness”. This is a thought I had never considered before today.
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve—even in pain—the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We have two dear friends who are facing their first Christmas without their husband. I can’t imagine such pain, but we do well to prepare our hearts for the day that will most likely come. Not to be morbid, mind you, but to help us appreciate today all the more. Each day is a gift, and no one realizes this more than the one who no longer has the one they love by their side.
May this thought fuel your affection this Christmas and help you choose what is of most importance. It’s not the clean house, the wrapped gifts, or the perfect decor. It’s having someone with whom to share every day, every holiday, even when life is hard.
How can you make this Christmas more meaningful? Remember when you say “yes” to something you are saying “no” to something else. Make sure you’re choosing the best in long run.
I cling to the Christian belief that one day we will all be united with our loved ones in heaven. At this point in my life, I have lived for more years of my lifer without my mother than the years I lived with her. I still miss her very much. Even though she is gone from this earth, I see her face every time I look at my oldest daughter. There is no doubt that she has left her mark on this world. As parents, we all live on through our children and through our children’s children. I see the proof every day.
I will say a prayer today for your mom and mine.
Thank you, Rick. I am grateful for the hope we have in Christ. I forgot to mention my Dad passed from this life in 2004 – January. So Christmas is fraught with so many memories. I’m confident the emptiness I feel now will turn into “silent joy” that Bonhoeffer mentions.
This is an outstanding post! Thank you for sharing.
You express yourself so well here, Debi. I’m praying for you and can’t wait to spend some time together this Christmas season.
It is hard when one heads into the holidays. This year we lost my husbands dad and my dad, and it will be very different. That is the way it is these days. Adapting to loss and still moving forward and remembering is the best way to handle it. Take care of yourself in this time of loss and find strength and encouragement in the company of others.
Dearest Debi… How we pray for you and thank God for Tom’s welcoming, comforting arms. I’m reminded of something that is written on a picture we have hanging in our den: “May there be such a oneness between you in your marriage that when one of you weeps, the other will taste the salt.” It sure seems appropriate.
Having lost parents ourselves, we know how the tears can flow so readily when this memory or that comes to mind. We love you both and thank God for you and that God blessed you with such wonderful parents. May the good memories help to take some of the sting away. You’re in our prayers.
We try to make Thanksgiving and Christmas both about spending quality time with our families. Not about the gifts, but about the memories! Thank you for such a good reminder! Prayers for those who struggle this time of year.
We join with you in praying for those who are struggling. We never know when it will be our year to do so, and then we’ll be more aware of the need for support and prayers of others.
Blessings to you and your family!