Thanksgiving Day was a very good day. My little family of four spent our time smelling delicious food cooking in the kitchen, enjoying each other during a little craft time, and snuggled on the sofa watching movies. I ended the day by meeting one of my friends for our annual Black Friday shopping trip. We were entering what I felt was going to be the best holiday season we had spent together as a family.
The next day, things started to fall apart.
As I’ve mentioned, my grandfather called me the next night to let me know that my grandmother had passed away. She had been incredibly ill, so it was expected but surprisingly hard for me. Minutes before we laid her to rest, I looked at her and thought that as difficult as this was, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it’s been like for all of my friends who have had to bury their parents, and God forbid, their children.
Two weeks later, my family confronted that fear head on as one of my cousins died in a tragic accident while he was on a much anticipated vacation out of the country. I hadn’t actually seen him since we were kids since our family is so spread out, but here my family was burying a 30-year old son who had lost his life in a way that no one could have ever seen coming.
Tragedy continued less than a week later, as the news broke out of Newton, CT. I had been offline and away from the television that day, and I luckily didn’t learn of the news until I had my own 6-year old safely at home. The terror, panic and grief that has rocked that community (and our entire nation) has only begun to settle inside of me.
With so much loss over the last four weeks, I have to admit to you that I have been engulfed in emotional turmoil. My husband often accuses me of taking other people’s tragedies personally. He’s right, and I think it’s one of my very best and very worst qualities. If you have shared your life with me (either personally or online), I have laughed with you and cried with you, even though you might not even know it. I generally can shake it off, but this time, I simply can’t.
In the hustle of the holiday season, there are far too many important things we brush off for the sake of buying stocking stuffers and blogging about hanging Christmas garland. This week I have spent many hours at my son’s school – sharing lunch with him, enjoying the holiday music programs and celebrating at the class Christmas party. I’ve enjoyed seeming Emma shine during her ballet class and happily wiped her face when it was covered in green cookie frosting. I am now far too aware that all of those little things, as little as they are, can be taken away in the blink of an eye. I’m certain that no one has ever died thinking that they should have spent less time with their children.
Up until now, I know that I have lived a life too full. I’ve taken on too much and not stopped to just sit down every once in a while and watch my children play. Too often, I’ve counted down the hours until their bed time or grown impatient while they were trying to dress themselves or tie their own shoes. I can’t promise that I will always be patient and entirely present, but I certainly am going to try.
So, today I ask for patience from you. Patience when dealing with one another, as we are all fighting our own battles and having our own internal struggles. Patience for those who may have views different than your own, as hard as I know that can be. And patience for me as I take a break from this blog to truly reflect on the last four weeks in my life.
I will see you at the beginning of 2013 – with a much more upbeat attitude and a new perspective. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and much Love and Hugs from me.