I struggle to maintain balance in a world that has been irrevocably tipped. Someone is missing and she will continue to be missing from now until the end of time. It is a truth that, no matter how I try, I cannot seem to wrap my brain around. It's a truth that still takes my breath away.
Christmas is coming. I am powerless to stop it. I know that, like all other significant dates, it will come and it will go and we will survive. I know this because we've done it. I do not dislike the holidays but there is a sharp awareness that they will never be the same. I will never celebrate in the same way that I once did. We go through the motions of the holidays, on the ride with everyone else. We've attended concerts and programs, baked and decorated, bought and wrapped. We not only join in the festivities, we enjoy them. However, we now lack the idealistic innocence that we once had. We love the excitement of our children that are here, but desperately miss the one who is not.
There is no end to the things that will forever represent her abscence, the greatest and most permanent being that place of sadness that has been etched into my heart. The stockings, hanging from the mantle, have been filled with small gifts but her's hangs limp and empty. We've received some precious ornaments from others this year, my favorite being a beautiful pink and silver rocking "hee hee". These ornaments, given to us in love, hang from our tree along with all of the others. In our back yard is a spruce tree, donated by our children's school at the time of the accident. We have adorned it with 500 bright pink lights. It is beautiful and at times, though there are no flashing lights, it twinkles. I can see her tree from any window on the back side of our house. It brings a pang of regret each time I pass by it, but it also reminds me of her vibrant, sparkling life. On her grave is a beautiful arrangement with fuscia bows and purple poinsettias. When I ordered this to be made, my request was "make it glitzy and girly." As I knelt to place it on her grave, my heart squeezed inside of me and once again I fought waves of desperation. There is a surreal quality to all of these things that are done in rememberance of her.
We have tasted of life's harshness. We have lived the unthinkable. Now and forevermore, we will wish that she were here. We will wonder what she would have been like. We will remember her life with joy and her death with sorrow. The most monumental difference between Christmas now and Christmas before is that which is deep in the heart of each of us. It is the keen knowledge that our family circle is, for our time on earth, broken. The baking, the decorating, the music, and the lights can never make Christmas complete. There is new longing, not for gifts or gadgets, but for that place where our little girl celebrates with her King.
CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.