I can’t tell you how much I hate to write this story of truth. It’s beckoned me all day and finally, a few moments of quiet and I can think of a million things that I would rather tell you about, funny things and thoughtful things, even the presents I bought and now despise, but that would all be smoke and mirrors for the thoughts lurking in my heart and longing to spill out.
To be honest and truthful doesn’t mean to pick and choose what one shares. I care enough not to care. I know it’s Christmas and a day for choosing joy and being happy and having fun and regardless of what I tell you next, I promise I have done all of that. I want you to see how joy and terrible sorrow travel together because that is my story. Better to grin and bare it, some say, but no glossing over for me, not today.
Today, I missed my brother. I missed him so much it was all I could do to muster a smile at times. The silence marked by his absence was deafening and I longed to hear his laugh, see his smiling eyes, sit beside him with our shoulders touching and have him tickle Amos and tell me that he is perfect. It’s his chatter I grieve and today I realized that its’ empty space will never be filled and so, all the while I’ve been longing for healing from grief and I’ve discovered that this is it.
It’s not what I expected. I thought it wouldn’t hurt anymore and though it’s better, easier, not as caustic to the soul, the days of wonderful peaks demand a necessary descent. For me, grief has its’ paperclips, and so, I transfer missing that big brother to worry for my Amos. It makes no logical sense, and yet,I do it over and over again and I acknowledge its’ truth so as to free myself from those innocuous bits of metal.
Amos is three years old. Amos can’t open a present by himself. Amos didn’t tell Santa what he really wanted. Amos has no concept of Christmas. When I think back to my other children at the same age, I can hardly stand it. I can’t watch the family videos of them talking and driving battery powered cars and hugging grandparents as I, in the background, chastise them to say please and thank you.
Oh God, I just want to hear him say, Da-da. Is that too much to ask? I didn’t know people wanted things like this, gifts that cost nothing but are worth more than all my material possessions combined. Amos is three years old and I wonder if next year or the year after will be much different. Will I change his diaper Christmas morning and guess what he likes and smother him with kisses all the while screaming inside myself, why did this happen?
And then, my phone rings. It’s my oldest son Thomas asking me what we are having for dinner and when I ask what he would like, he wonders aloud if we could have snow cones from our new Snoopy machine. Sure, I say, smiling a real smile. That’s how quickly the descent can happen if you allow yourself to free fall rather than stumble. I’ve never plummeted quite like this and so, I hope you’ll forgive me for the harsh honesty of thoughts I have relayed to you.
I hope you’ll believe me when I say, I’m off to gather my cherubs to play on the beach. So very soon, I will be laughing and breathing in the delight of all that rides in the salt air. You see, the joy always come again, even when riding on the coat tails of hardship. Christmas reminds me, beckons me, envelopes me and caresses me in all the thoughts that ultimately resurrect the spirit and stir the choosing of joy.