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Friday, December 14, 2012

For the Grieving...Death Is Nothing At All

Looking back, I can't recall a single year in which I did not look forward, with great anticipation, to the Christmas Season. Of course when I was a child much of that excitement had to do with what I hoped Santa would be leaving under the tree for me each year.  But even back then I recognized that Christmastime was about something so much bigger than me and my wishes.  

It was a recognition and celebration of Jesus' Birthday, yes.  I can't recall not ever knowing that much but what I remember most is the feeling it seemed to bring with it...the one that cast its magical spell of joy over everyone I knew or crossed paths with and just somehow made them more jovial, more giving, more...better. (at least most of them)

Even up into my adult years, when it became more about the giving than receiving (which truly is more rewarding), it still brought that same beautiful magic with it and left me counting down the days until the warm gatherings and celebrations with all the ones I loved the most in the world.  And once I became a mother?  That magic was only magnified tenfold.  

Then the unthinkable happened and the world as I had known it crumbled into a million shattered pieces, taking my heart down with it.  And all right smack dab in the middle of the most wonderful time of the year. How would I ever be the same again? And how would I ever even manage to get through, much less love, the Christmas Season ever again?   

But you know what?  I did.  I do.  I still love it. In spite of it all.  That first year was the hardest (as all the firsts are) but I decided I had to embrace it head on, for my boys, if nothing else.  And an amazing thing happened...The magic showed up anyway. Maybe not the same as it had always been but it SHOWED UP.  

That was nine years ago and I still love Christmas.

I know there are many of you out there who have recently experienced the loss of someone you love which, no matter what time of year it happened, makes this time of year difficult because that very important person is missing.  I understand. I get it.  This one is for you...

It's a little book of an old poem, Death Is Nothing At All, that I somehow stumbled across and bought for myself back in those early days of grief. It brought me great comfort each time I read it and my hope is that it will do the same for you... 

 Death is nothing at all...
I have only slipped away into the next room...

am I and you are you...

whatever we were to each other
that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar
 name, speak to me in the easy
way which you always used.

Put no difference in your tone;
wear no forced air of solemnity or

Laugh as we always laughed at
the little jokes we enjoyed

Play, smile, think of me, pray
for me.

Let my name be ever the
household word that it always

Let it be spoken without effect,
without the ghost of a shadow
on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was; there
is absolutely unbroken

What is this death but a
negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am just waiting for you, for an
interval, somewhere very near,
just around the corner...

All is well.

Canon Henry Scott Holland
January 27, 1847 - March 17, 1918

Be gentle with yourself,

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  1. I love this poem and I have it written down somewhere or maybe someone sent me a copy. I know the first year is the hardest. Last Christmas I did not look forward to but you go have to. I am much looking forward to this Christmas. I am in a better place emotional. Thanks for posting this its important all year around but holidays are hard for some.

  2. Thats very touching - and so sweet of you to take the time to post that!

  3. This post will give someone somewhere exactly the comfort they need today. Not sure what time you posted this yesterday, but wow... just wow!

  4. In light of yesterday's tragedy, this is the perfect post.

    We will pray for those who experienced loss. And, we will be grateful for those we do have with us.

  5. I can't comment on your newest post... just wanted to send you (((HUGS)))