Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Following a Death in the Family

Wait, don’t go away; it’s not all gloomy. Yes, my sister died early this December...totally unexpected, it was. As I said on Facebook, I am sad but not depressed. I’m not sure how to explain that. I cry sometimes. I wish I could pick up the phone. Something is missing from my very heart. But I am not surrounded by darkness. I don’t understand why my sister had to go away so suddenly; it doesn’t seem to make any sense. But life never does make sense, does it, really? As my seat neighbor on the flight to Boise said, “Embrace the moment”. I’ve been trying to learn that for ever so long, and I usually fail. Maybe now I will learn.

At the same time, I have no regrets. Chris and I embraced every moment we spent together. We worked together when my mom died, when my step-father died, when my dad had a stroke. We talked together on the phone every week in the past decade. We talked about our families, our jobs, our projects at home, some of our struggles and disappointments, and our dreams. Wherever we went with the conversation, she tried to be sure we brought it to a positive or optimistic conclusion before we got off the phone.

Chris was interested in everything you did, if you wished to share it. I went to Chicago with my husband on a business trip last fall. When we arrived, I let her know. She texted back, “About 5 min’s ago I told Jim that u guys were prob just about at Chicago. I guess I was right. Have fun!” How many people are that interested, and that selfless, to know right down to five minutes when you will arrive somewhere...on a pleasure trip, when she couldn't afford a pleasure trip?

Christmas was her favorite holiday, her favorite season. She put herself into giving joy to others all year long, but particularly at Christmas time. So, what would she want us to do...with Christmas right around the corner from her passing? I think she would want us to do what we’re doing: to decorate the tree; to make the good foods; and to wish every one of you a very Happy Christmas!


Grace said...

Thank you for sharing this. Unexpected deaths are always hard to embrace. Know that God's peace is especially here for you this Christmas. I've appreciated getting to know you. Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Jean M. Heimann said...

Margaret Mary,

I am so sorry for your loss. At the same time, this is a beautiful tribute to your sister and is expressed so well.

Christmas brings backs memories of my own sister, who died at the young age of 39. She, too, loved Christmas and lived it year round.

Have a peaceful and blessed Christmas!

Maureen Wile said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to your sister. I could feel your warmth and love for her in every word. Have a Blessed Christmas day with your family!

Jennifer Schmidt said...

This is beautiful. You are so blessed to have a sister and be so close to each other. I say "have" because we know that she lives on, in Christ. God bless you, Merry Christmas!

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Thank you all for all your beautiful thoughts and words. :)

Neen said...

I am visiting from Catholic Moms on line. I visited just now probably because I needed to see your post about your sister.

Three years ago I lost a dear friend to a very short fight with pancreatic cancer. Her faith as she was dying was so beautiful. I learned so much about how to live and the joy in dying from her. Linda was blessed with a true feeling of God's forgivness and complete love as she got sick. The worse she got the more joyful she became. It was crazy to watch.

I still miss her but she even said that the special people are the ones that get to go to heaven around Christmas. We don't even understand, with our human limits, what Christ gave to us, but the angels and Saints do. Linda felt that the celebration is heaven would make those on earth appear ugly.

I look forward to knowing your sister in the Eucharist with the rest of the saints in heaven. I am sure that Linda and Chris will continue to love us from their heavenly home. Instead of saying, "I am sorry for your loss!" I will tell you that I am very joyful for your sisters gain. Congratualtions.

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Thank you, Neen, for sharing your beautiful thoughts.