February, 1992 I came home from the hospital with our fourth baby and woke up the next morning to a house full of children ages infant to six. I thought that would be the most stressful and challenging season of my life.
I was wrong.
This season of grief has required more strength, more endurance and more faith than all the sleepless nights, harried days and craziness of homeschooling and nursing babies and changing diapers ever did.
But when I ventured outside the house with the children–two in the stroller and one on either side–it was apparent to all who saw me I had my hands full.
The hardship and daily struggle of living after burying a child is not nearly so easy for people to see.
No taletell outward sign of the heavy burden, the sleepless nights, the tiresome days spent carrying around the grief and sorrow and still trying to do the things that life requires.
And so there is much less help, much less encouragement, much less grace extended to ease the pain and struggle.
Bereaved parents are particularly challenged at this time of year, because in addition to regular responsibilities and commitments, we are expected to attend extra church services, holiday get togethers and generally be “merry and bright”.
But grief doesn’t take a holiday. And we beat ourselves up because we want to maintain the Christmas spirit for our surviving children, other family members, and friends.
It is so very hard…
So I will observe traditions that bless my wounded heart and lay aside the ones that are too painful right now. There may be a time (or maybe not) when I can take them up again. But it’s o.k. not to this year.
It is not a sin to do things differently or to do some things and not others.
God knows that I am a frail and feeble creature and losing Dominic was a devastating blow.
At Christmas, we celebrate Jesus, His leaving the glory of Heaven to come-humble and naked-as a baby.
Perhaps my grief and vulnerable heart are a more fitting tribute to Him than all the tinsel and bright lights and piled presents could ever be.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
He certainly knows what we are made of.
He bears in mind that we are dust.
Psalm 103:13-14 GW
8 thoughts on “Surviving Christmas”
Like you I had 4 children under 6 yrs of age (two sets of twins) and struggled trying to keep up and raise them properly while working part time. Patted myself on the back when they all graduated college and then BAM God called one back. Raising them was NOTHING in comparison to sending one back to live with Jesus. Thankfully at year 5 now we still struggle but are very slowly healing and holding onto Hope and our firm belief we will see our son and brother again. God Bless you and your family during the difficult days of the holiday season. Know that you’re not alone.
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I have no idea how I stumbled upon your writings other than believing I was somehow led here. Many nights I lay awake missing my precious girl and your words affirm all that my heart is screaming. I shed tears over your loss and mine. I’d like to share a portion of what you’ve shared here but only with with your permission. Ive struggled to find anyone in “my world” who truly understands the longing and the grief I feel each day but especially in these days before Christmas. Thank you for continuing to share. Sincerely, Mom to Ashley Kate, Forever loved… Forever missed… Forever Eight
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I am so very sorry for your loss and your pain. I’m thankful the blog is helpful in your journey. I pray that the Father gives you the strength you need for each day and that He floods your heart with His love, grace and mercy.
Trish, you are welcome to share a post. There are icons at the bottom of each post which will allow you to share directly to FB or another social media platform. If you want to excerpt a part of a post, please reference that you quoted from thelifeididntchoose.com.
Melanie your grief is so raw, so real. There are no words I can offer that will relieve your pain but I want you to know that I share it. It hurts me too to know that Dominic is gone. Yes, praise God he is secure in the bosom of Jesus but the stark truth is that he is sorely missed on earth. I love you and am deeply sorry we lost touch over the years. I am so sorry for your loss.
Thank you Julia. I pray your family is well. It is nice to hear from you.