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