I feel kind of lost this year. Many of you have been through it as well.
I lost my mother in February and my father resides in an Alzheimer's unit and has no idea who I am. My grandmother passed in January.
Dad was pretty bad last year, but we managed to have a nice Christmas. We will this year as well, but I find myself lost with the thoughts of Christmases past.
My mom worked hard at Christmas. She worked hard on the house, food, presents and everything else. She made it very special.
I remember coming in the house and the incredible smells there to welcome anyone who entered.
Despite the usual holiday stress, Mom was happy. Actually, the holidays were the time she was the happiest.
Dad was always in a good mood around the holidays as well. He liked to play little tricks. One time he bought a baseball glove for himself and wrote on the card, "To: Bill - From: His Secret Admirer." Pretty clever guy.
My wife and I were talking about how our children seem to make this first Christmas without my parents okay. The joy of their experiences have a way of helping with the pain and emptiness left by those who've passed.
There are other joys as well. Simply finding a quiet time to remember exactly what we are celebrating puts things in perspective. I'm still amazed at the humble nature of the birth of Jesus. It's astounding and moves me.
Doing something for others also has a way of helping ease the grief. There are many who need the aid of a friend or the goodwill of those of use better off.
Still, this Christmas will be difficult at times... Really, it already is. Just this past weekend I tried to count the number of phone calls I would have received from my folks on the weekend before Christmas in the past. I'm sure it would have been at least six. Strange ... half of the phone calls probably would have annoyed me in some way. Man, I'd love for that phone to ring right now...
For those of you who've lost loved ones this past year, my heart goes out to you and your families. Fill your homes with love and let those sharing your pain know how much you love and care for them.
For those of you with families intact, give them an extra hug and kiss this year and take just a second and think of this special time without them. Then go ahead and give them another hug.
Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008