This holiday season is different. There is a pervasive sadness that keeps pushing its unwelcome presence into the festivities. And although I am enjoying my preparations for Christmas and family, there is the knowledge that one of us will not participate. My sister-in-law, Sara, was killed in a horseback riding accident this past July. She was 41 years old.
My sorrow comes and goes with little reminders. Making chocolate chip cookies – Sara and I were lucky to have more than one batch make it to the oven. We ate too much of the dough first! Christmas shopping for my children – my heart breaks for Sara’s boys. There is no family gift exchange this year. Sara was the one who organized the exchange. Instead, this year we will donate to a charity. It is a good way to remember her, and I like to think that she would be pleased.
The reminders come as I watch friends at church. It has been a year of loss there as well. Bertha and MaryLouise are gearing up for the first Christmas without their husbands. Edna lost her sister and nephew within three weeks of each other. Another family is enduring a 2nd holiday season without their teenage daughter. It is evident that pain is still fresh.
But through it all I am also reminded that this is a season of hope. It’s why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. I am a woman of faith. And as such, I know that even though I grieve, those that are gone but lived in faith are not lost to me forever.
To those of you who have suffered loss this year I wish you comfort and joy. And to everyone: May the holiday season hold many blessings for you and your family.
Merry Christmas to you all.