Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Who would have thought that my own keystrokes of last year’s holiday column would have been so prophetic?
As I sat at in my darkened corner of an empty newsroom with fingers poised above the keyboard in hopes that some profound revelation would inspire my creative juices to pound out my weekly column, I painstakingly searched the internet for something that would spark the passion that usually drives my writing and found nothing.
Now, one would think with all that is available online and all that is in the news, I would have no trouble deciding on a topic, but quite simply, nothing moved me. After exhausting all my favorite web links, I resolved to look back in the archives of last year’s November columns and came across one that stopped me dead in my tracks.
Although I try to make it a regular practice to take advantage of the unique opportunity I have to educate, entertain and encourage others and challenge myself to bring something fresh and provocative to the table, I couldn’t help but to bring you down a road of remembrance and perhaps even healing with me.
When I wrote this column last year, I had absolutely no idea that two months after its publication I would be burying my father as a result of suicide and experiencing the seemingly unparalleled grief I could scarcely imagine during a holiday of firsts.
If this year marks a season of grieving the loss of someone you love, you are not alone. My heart grieves with you at a level that can only be truly comprehended by the likes of those who have walked a mile in our shoes and it is in your honor and that of the memory of our loved ones this column is revisited.
&uot;Although the holidays are supposed to be times of happiness and cheer, they can be an emotional and depressing time for many who suffer silently the pain and grief of a lost loved one.
Feelings of anxiety and stress tend to heighten in the latter months of the year as many seek the refuge of burying themselves in business to ease the heartache.
It’s easy for those of us whose families have not yet been directly devastated by the blows of death to allow the silent, desperate cries of others in our path to go unheard, especially in all the hustle and bustle of procrastinate shopping, cooking and travel.
However, some people will be experiencing the beginning of a year of bittersweet firsts. Holidays that used to be spent laughing, snuggling, smiling, communing at the dinner or breakfast table, opening presents or simply traveling for a quiet weekend getaway will all somehow take on new meaning as these wounded spirits struggle to make new memories while remembering the not so yet old ones.
Hearts that are still broken by this deep sadness cannot be mended by brightly colored packages, hot cocoa or free advice about getting involved in group activities where they can ‘meet people.’ They don’t need suggestions and things to ‘keep them busy’ or ‘get their mind off’ the one they’re missing.
In May (2003), my grandfather suffered the loss of his wife, my grandmother, leaving behind the man who had devoted some 53 years of his life to loving her as her husband to endure the grief of her loss, along with the rest of us.
(In October 2003), a very close friend of mine lost her father to a sudden and unexpected heart attack, leaving behind a myriad of children and grandchildren to deal with the loss.
This holiday season will be the first season we spend without our loved ones, a time that is difficult, at best for anyone. So in your travels, whether they be near or far, don’t forget to take notice of that face in line at the grocery store or the lonely neighbor as he walks outside to get his paper.
This holiday season, let us pause and give thanks for each precious moment we have with those we love, making each breath one of encouragement. You never know who might need to hear a gentle word, feel a warm embrace, and offer a patient and willing ear to listen or perhaps the shoulder of a friend to cry on.
Is there someone you know who might be grieving the loss of a person close to them this year?
Make sure to let them know they are important and that you care about them in this difficult time. You never know when the tables will be turned.&uot;
Who would have guessed that those words would ring so true in such a short time or that those tables would have turned so quickly? A close friend once told me that the deepest tragedies in life are often the greatest treasures, now I see what he meant by that. It just might be that God placed that treasured person in your life, not to be a blessing to you, but for you to be a blessing to them.
Life holds for us no guarantees, so let us redeem our breath with daily offerings of sincere gratitude and appreciation to our Creator for the blessings He has bestowed on us.