Here it is almost the beginning of a new year and families are coping with many stressors. Some are trying to get home after traveling for Christmas, some are waiting for loved ones to make it home after weather delays, and some are dealing with other type of issues. I met a friend in Sam’s Club the Saturday before Christmas and they were feeling a little down. I knew that they had lost their mother back in October and this was the first Christmas since then. The family seemed disorganized as to where Christmas was going to be. I reassure my friend that the first Christmas is generally the hardest and things will get better. Am I an expert? No, I have had the loss of loved ones around the holidays. I am not anyone special, as I know that others have lost loved ones this time of year as well. I want to share the loss with you so that you can understand some of my comments. In 1974, My Father passed away suddenly in mid-October, I was stationed on the East coast when that happened, and I had to fly back to the ship before Thanksgiving. Mom had it rough although she did fly out to be with me for Christmas that year. That helped her a lot more than I ever knew. My Dad’s Sister and Mother were in Connecticut and My Mom’s relatives were in Kansas City. After the Funeral It was just My Mom and I. We discussed what Dad would have wanted me to do and carried on with that in mind. In 1976, I was in the Mediterranean on the USS Nimitz. It was our first Med Cruise. I took leave over Christmas and New Years to travel to Wales from Italy to visit My Dad Sister and Mother. My Uncle had received a transferred to a little Welsh town named Abergavenny, to Manage a Plant for The American Can Company. It was great until December 27th when I received a call from my mother to tell me that My Grandfather had passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve and the Funeral was that day, (December 27th). The other side of the family did not understand why I had not flown home for the funeral; My Grandmother never told them that I had not been called until the day of. Mom’s family took his death hard and Christmas was never really the same and My Grandmother’s house. As I stated I am no different from anyone else that has lost loved ones, especially around the Holidays. In 1994, we lost my Dad’s Mother around Easter and My Mothers Sister passed away in about the same year. The one that really hit this family was the loss of My Mothers Mother on December 21st, 1996. It was not a pleasant time, but time heals all wounds… Does it really? This year, the week before Christmas, I was informed that one of my cousins was very sick. She was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator due to a problem with her organs shutting down. She was in liver failure and needed a transplant. My information is sketchy at best on dates, but the fact remains that this lovely soul has left us. She was a Mother that loved her family and one of her greatest joys was being a Mom. I am saddened that we have lost another beautiful person. I pray for her children and her husband that God may comfort them during this time of mourning. I must remind everyone that there is good news in losing her, for she is in no more pain, and is with my sister, her mother and youngest brother and our grandparents. All of them are in a better place now and they will be with us always in our hearts. To my cousins I pray for each of you to hold each other up and to take solace in your grief that they are in a better place. Be strong for one another and take care of your father.
To those that have had personal tragedies during the Christmas seasons in the past, present and those that may occur in the future. Rejoice, and know that your loved one(s) are with Christ and with God. For as long as you hold them in your heart they will always be with us.
As tiny Tim from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” said “God Bless us EVERYONE!”