Today marks one year since my grandmother passed away. Over the course of this year I have believed a lie. When my grandmother passed away I believed a part of me passed away with her. Last Christmas I felt like I had just woken up out of a bad dream that I would never wake up from.
I have never experienced grief until her passing and as much as I tried to fight it, I could not get past the thought that she had been taken from me. The one person I have always had, who I could run to in my time of need, when I was broken and worn down, tired and alone, I could run to her…and now she was gone. She had been taken, in a cruel, too soon way, taken. These thoughts festered and festered until they were an infected wound of depressed puss oozing up and over dollar store purchased bandages… but in that grief something else came alive. Something began to be birthed from the hard places and that thing was strength. In that hard, real, broken places of grief something started to come alive again. My prayers got real. My relationship with God and everyone else got real, because I could not see what all I had left, I could only see that in which I had “lost.”
About two months ago I started being able to stand on my own two feet again. There was a renewed strength, a new spirit, and a way to push on. I was no longer crying everyday. I started to see the goodness of God and what the world had to offer. The clouds cleared and I would push through, the clouds cleared and I could finally remember what life could feel like again. The tight chains of grief and depression that had gripped me for ten long months began breaking off. The pain, the hurt, the utter resentment that comes from losing a loved one slowly began falling away. A new kind of love and gratefulness started growing where the angry feelings once stood.
There is no expiration date on grief. There is no magic time frame for healing, but it is important to know you will not stay in that desolate, lonely, wilderness forever. Christmas will always feel a little less empty without my grandmother but my heart will forever remain full. I will think of the way her house smelled at Christmas, and her perfect country ham, the way she radiated hospitality every place she would go…and I will try my best to radiate that same kind of love until we meet again. My grandmother left a legacy of love, strength, and faith and that is something most definitely worth celebrating…so this year we are having Christmas, and we are having Christmas right. With family, food, fun, and so much ham I can’t stand it. I pray you and your family have a wonderful holiday season. Stay strong, friends you will dance for joy again.
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! Psalm 30:11-12