Thursday, December 26, 2013

Priority #3 - My Children: One Selfish Day

I am a wife to one man that I have loved for 30+ years.  I am a mom to three living, active, competitive, very social homeschooled and college attending children.  I am a pastor's wife of a congregation that meets weekly in my home.  I am a full time employee.  I am a mentor to women who are are walking through any of the above life journeys.  I constantly try to make myself available to as many people as I can on a daily basis for 364 days of the year.  I counsel, I pray, I teach.  

The one day that I keep for myself is December 25th.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know our family doesn't celebrate Christmas, as we believe the Messiah was born during the Festival of Sukkot, which occurs in the fall.  

On December 25th, I turn my phone all the way down.  I don't hear any text message notifications.  If anyone calls, I don't answer.  That's not completely true.  I do answer for one person.  She and I have walked hand in hand through grief.  When we suffer a loss, we usually turn to one another as the only other person who truly understands, doesn't give platitudes, and allows one another to be as expressive of our grief as we want to be.  

On December 25th, I'm afraid I am not very reverent, holy, or nice.  I do try to keep my mouth shut and recognize that at least my immediate family shares the grief of this day.  One loses all sense of humor, another posts angry words on social media, but we do at least TRY to consider that each of us feels the pain of our loss in our own way.  The younger ones just try to stay out of the way of the older ones.  We certainly don't want to wound well-meaning people who don't understand.  

On December 25th, 1989, my husband and I became parents for the first time.  Our firstborn Dancing Angel changed our whole way of living.  Like all first time parents, we thought every single thing she did was amazing.  She very happy and very healthy until December 2002 when she suddenly became very ill for three weeks and then in January 2003, suddenly died of a brain tumor she had been diagnosed with 72 hours earlier.  She had just turned 13 years old.  

If December 25th, 1989 changed who we were, then January 15, 2003 changed us yet again.  We became a family that flies in missing man formation.  Have we moved forward with life?  Absolutely.  We have had and are looking forward to achievements, graduations, and other celebrations.  

But on one day of the year, December 25th.  We are different.  I am different.  On that day, I acknowledge the hole in my heart that was created the day she left us.  I acknowledge that I wish life had turned out different for us.  I acknowledge that each of us bears our grief in our own way.  I don't like to give much attention to January 15th, although I know it exists.  I know what happened on that day, but I choose to give more attention to the day she was given and not the day she was taken away.  December 25th was HER day in our family.  We didn't give attention to January 15th when she was here, I see no reason to give it special significance now.  That's one reason why my grieving friend calls me on December 25th and I call her on May 11th.  We acknowledge that our children were born and they lived, no matter how short that time was.  
On December 25th, I am sad.  I am angry.  I am hurting.  I want to hit things.  I want to yell, scream, and cuss.  I don't, but I want to.  I am a bereaved mother.  I grieve much because I love much.  

On December 26th, I will go back to being wife, mother, mentor.  I will bow my heart and give thanks to Elohim for all His wonderful gifts, including the one that was given and taken away, blessed be He.  I will also thank Him for giving me December 25th.  

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