In honor of the approaching holidays, I’d like to share this article from Still Standing Magazine.
I think the point they make about the holidays applies to anyone we’ve lost who is close to us, not just our children. I know my dad is much closer to my everyday thoughts this time of year. The holidays bring the sadness into relief in a way daily life doesn’t.
For us, the holidays mean visiting with nieces and nephews and cousins. A few of them are just about the same age as Nathaniel and so I watch them with sadness and wonder.
What would his giggle have sounded like as he played with cousins?
Would he have enjoyed the Thanksgiving snow?
How would he feel about brussel sprouts?
Would he have enjoyed the glitter and lights of Christmas as much as I do?
After Thanksgiving dinner, a small cousin climbed up into my lap with a book. She doesn’t yet know how to read, but she invented a story from the pictures. When she slipped off again to play, the warmth of her dissipated. This moment exemplifies the co-mingling of intense joy and sadness the holidays brings.
I loved her wildly adventurous story, and that of all the adults sitting around chatting, she chose me to share it. But after she slipped away, the chill left behind brought such an intense longing for my own squirming, giggling toddler that I almost couldn’t stand it.
I imagine Nathaniel running up, demanding a story, only to squirt away after the first page or two to play again, as toddlers do.
Intense emotions are part and parcel of the holidays even when grief isn’t tangled up in it. It is why we must remember to celebrate the joy and be gentle with ourselves with the sadness.
In the spirit of gentleness, I’m taking a break from posting more to the graphic narrative until after the New Year. I need all my energy for the onslaught of holiday emotions- both joyful and sad.
I’ll see you in 2017.