Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Blue Christmas

It's a herculean challenge for the bereaved to feel enthusiastic during the holidays. Those jolly mall songs don't resonate with the ache in the heart. There are bittersweet memories lurking everywhere. The memories pop unbidden out of old photo albums and sagging boxes filled with the accumulation of years of ornaments. I hang these memories on the tree and mantle, as I have repeatedly over the years, but now they look different. A few of those time-worn ornaments stand out from the crowd. They belong to My Child... who was a brother, a friend, a precious beloved... who is no longer part of this world. Instead of cheer, they represent emptiness, loss and pain. They bring a sharp stab in the heart and tears, not the warmth and smiles they once engendered. They are this month's reminders of a story with a tragic ending. And all of us who knew him closely, his circle of companions, we all quietly mourn him this month. I can picture each of them lonely for his presence. I feel it in my tight chest, my shallow breathing, and in the silence of the night. I hurt for me and I hurt for them.

I used to live in an innocent world where Christmas was simply a busy amalgamation of gift shopping, culinary overload and childish delight. Now it's complicated. It's an aching annual reminder of someone with whom I will never share another holiday. It hurts like crazy.
And Elvis had it right, "I'll have a blue Christmas without you. I'll be so blue just thinking about you". Blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas.

This is my 3rd and now I am resigned to it. My happy ending will be found elsewhere, in the world to come. The sad Christmas carols in the minor keys, the ones that no one likes to sing, are the only ones that apply salve to my broken heart. They remind me that in spite of relentless sorrow there is an unquenchable rumor of HOPE. Though I am required to endure this heavy burden of loss, I will nonetheless, by faith, put my trust in the Almighty God. The one who promises to turn my sorrow into dancing.

O come, O come Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

Who mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appears.

Rejoice, rejoice


Shall come to thee, O Israel.


Jenny said...

Sending you lots of hugs. I feel just the same, you know.

karen gerstenberger said...

Amen, my dear sister across the miles. Can you feel my hand in yours?

Anonymous said...

Just the same ache in my heart. It is hard to explain to others. You see the laughter, you hear the songs but it feels muffled and wrong somehow. I wrap my arms around you in thought. Lovin you Sharon

Daisy said...

(((Karen))) Singing those songs with you.

Robin said...

Same same same.

I have just about finished decorating our tree. White lights, all blue and green and white and silver and clear ornaments. I hadn't even thought until reading this post - blue for sorrow, green for hope of new life? And the others for muted celebration?

Maybe someday I will feel like decorating a tree in red and gold? Far in the future, I think.

Anonymous said...

Love you sis.

Bro in law Steve

Kay said...

I think "it's complicated" pretty much sums it up. There isn't any way to really explain it if you haven't gone through it. It doesn't always manifest itself in the same ways..thus making it complicated. I found myself wanting to bawl the other day in Walmart for no other reason than walking past the little boy toys. Hard to explain, but the hurts that on other days I can tuck away as we move on with our lives just seem to pop out around this time of year.

Hugs, my friend!

Anna Looper said...

I look at my tree with all the memories, and then I look beyond it to the neighbor's house, and then I look still further to the threat of snow in the heavy laden clouds.....and then even though I can not see--I look beyond to the Christ who has stored up for me happiness beyond measure. i wish for you this season---a look beyond the trees, houses, clouds,---to see a happiness that is a promise to come. It's so hard to see unless you believe---and this is the season of believing.