My Unexpected Gift

Christmas day dawned as it always has for the last five years of my life. But, something was about to happen that I was not anticipating nor expecting. As I drove to my oldest daughter’s house for her annual Christmas brunch, I waited for those feelings of great sadness to take their place in my heart. Nothing. When I entered the house and was surrounded with loved ones, again, I looked for grief to hit me. Yet, I felt nothing but peace.

As the day wore on with conversation, laughter, more food, and games, I found myself wondering when that friend that has been with me for so long was going to join me. Time came to leave and I got into my car for the drive home. Normally this is when I give way to tears and allow all the emotions that I have been holding inside to come out. But, again, nothing happened.

At first I questioned what was happening and why I wasn’t feeling sad like I usually do – missing my husband and both of my parents especially on Christmas day. Then I began to feel strange because I realized that I was actually missing the sadness that I always felt. It felt like the lack of it was almost a betrayal. How could I feel peace and contentment without them?

This was all totally unexpected. Yes, I’d been told by other widows further down the road that this time would come, but to be honest with you, I found it very hard to believe. Yet, for this one day when families gather together to celebrate the birth of Christ, my sadness had silently and unexpectedly crept to the back recesses of my heart.

Will sadness and grief stay there? I have a feeling that they didn’t open the back door and make a complete exit. From what I am told, they will come back to the forefront from time to time and again, it will be unexpected. Am I finished grieving? No. I don’t believe that ever happens. When you have loved much and deeply, you grieve much and deeply as you learn to live with grief. But, for now, something has shifted in my grief journey. Just like that day so many years ago when Christ was born and peace was introduced to the world in that moment, peace was reintroduced to me on Christmas day.

An unexpected gift. A gift I never thought I’d receive. A gift that surprised and puzzled me. A gift that I know that my husband and parents would want for me. A welcomed gift. A gift that will encourage the hearts of other widows who are still in that place of great sadness. A gift that only God could give.

My widow friends, do you remember the day that sadness retreated to the back of your heart and you felt that unexpected peace and contentment?

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20 responses

  1. I am so glad for you, and to have had it happen on Christmas day is a wonderful gift.

    I just passed my 2 year mark since losing my husband, so this was my third Christmas without him and I have to say I also was more at peace. Jesus has been my strength and I am looking forward to 2015, to see what ways God is going to work in my life.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~FlowerLady

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  2. Candy, this is a beautiful testimony how God heals the brokenhearted. Sometimes we feel that day will never come, but it does…in due time. God is faithful. We never forget our loved ones, and we shouldn’t…but praise the Lord…we do not have to grieve like those who have no hope. Thanks for your encouraging words.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so beautifully. Even though at first you experienced the loss of the “grief companion,” you now can enjoy in a richer way God’s presence. His grace is sufficient, His comfort is complete, and He promises that His love will never end.

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  4. Hi Candy ,
    We have been true companions on this road as this is also my 5th Christmas without Michael. I, too, looked around for my sadness but it wasn’t there. I found that peace and contentment had taken it’s place. It’s hard to believe and I also felt bewildered by it’s absence. It’s really a weird feeling, finally getting to the point in my life that I never thought would come. I wanted to journal about it myself but couldn’t put it into the proper words. I’m so glad that you were able to do just that. I want to copy and paste your post into my journal because it expresses my thoughts so perfectly. Thank you, Candy.

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  5. Very nice post Candy. I’m glad you had a good day. I had my 4th Christmas without my husband and it still hurts so bad but I get through somehow. Maybe next year will be better,

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  6. Thank you for sharing, Candy. You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself. When I first read your blog, I thought, yes, I know, as I felt I had reached that point also. But, Thursday, Jan. 1st, after watching a beautiful movie, I broke down and cried like I thought I never would again. I seem to carry a small sadness again. I do wonder if it was subconsciously on my mind that our son was killed on Jan. 2nd. But that was 19 years ago! This was my 4th Christmas without my husband. I know that day will come, as it did with you. Until then, I will continue to try to walk in the pathway God lays out before me.
    Thank you for the reminder that this is normal. I was scolding myself for “turning back” to that much emotion. I appreciate you writing, “When you have loved much and deeply, you grieve much and deeply as you learn to live with grief”. I do look forward to the time when I can stop and realize that it has gone out the back door for me as well.

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  7. I know that at any time there can be a grief trigger such as you experienced and I can break down and cry. And I am okay with that. In fact , I will welcome it when it happens because grief has been my friend. That sounds strange, but I had to go through all that I have been through to get to where I am now. I have learned so much about myself…..things I never knew……l.things I needed to know.

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