Dealing with Loss During the Holidays
Earlier this week, my beloved Grandmother left us. Just a couple of weeks earlier, we hadn’t a clue that we would be saying goodbye. Late one night, Grandma was taken to the emergency room with severe abdominal pains. A short time later a tumor was removed from her colon, and it was learned that she had stage 4 Colon Cancer. The doctor’s determined that her overall health condition did not allow for any treatment. We thought we would have months to say goodbye, but those months quickly turned into a couple of weeks and then days. Dealing with a loss is difficult at anytime, but dealing with loss during the holidays is especially difficult.
One thing I’ve learned is that everyone deals with loss in a different way. Some people display grief very openly with public displays of crying, while others get angry. Some people push those emotions down as far as they can, and busy themselves with other things in an attempt not to deal with the grief. The latter would best describe how I have handled my Grandmother’s loss. It’s a coping mechanism I have used for years, but the downfall is that eventually those emotions rear their ugly heads and manifest both emotionally and physically.
We are supposed to be full of cheer during the holidays. Our children count on us to make their Christmas morning wishes come true. While watching my nieces and nephew perform in a church play last evening, I found myself feeling happy and hopeful once again. For a moment, I began to feel guilty but quickly reminded myself that Grandma would want me to be happy and enjoy the holidays. Although I will miss her terribly, I think I can do this knowing that she is in heaven above. Grandma lived a long and happy life, and that gives me some comfort.
But what happens when lives are cut much too short? Our entire nation is grieving right now over the senseless shootings in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 little angels and 6 adults lost their lives. As many of you, I have really been struggling with this.
Last night at church someone read a poem that was written by a woman named Cameo Smith of Mt. Wolf, PA. It was written in her grief over the shootings, and it has given me a little comfort. I hope it will do the same for you.
Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God‘s house.”
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”