Archive for January, 2015

The Casket & The Manger
January 4, 2015

It’s the weekend after ringing in the New Year and we’re all bemoaning taking down the decorations, dragging the tree to the curb, and we’re wondering out loud if maybe just for a little-while-longer we can keep up the twinkle lights.

I don’t think any of us are ever ready to wipe out the magic and the glitter, especially when what’s outside is just cold and gray.

We want it to stay sparkly as long as it can, don’t we?
Because the wrappings and the ribbons put a little hope in our hearts.

From the last week of November until the first week of January we essentially hit ‘pause’ on all that’s painful and we go to parties and sip cider and turn a broken, broken world into something pretty and festive. Something to look forward to. Something magical.

But there really is no pause button for pain… no way to keep it from coming.
And this year more than any other pain rang big and loud!
Death drug it’s long dark cloak around every festive corner of this holiday.

On Christmas Day last year, my beloveds and I  were struck a blow.  And out of those sharp tears and new worries, I awoke the next morning to a voice calming me from so many miles away. That man who spoke gently to my heart on that December 26th, and every day after, proved to calm me, comfort me, and love me more than anyone ever had.
He was my gift last Christmas. He was was my gift every single day onward.
And then this holiday, he chose our separation.
The hope that had been cradled in my heart, and written in pen on the calendar, was suddenly the deepest, deepest pain I’d ever known.
He walked away as lovingly and honorably as possible, but in that moment he kissed me goodbye and called me ‘sweetheart’ for the last time, it was as though my heart was physically ripped out of my body. I could physically feel more pain that I have ever felt.
In the days to follow, as his already wrapped Christmas and anniversary and birthday presents sat on the top of the stairs, as those penned-in hearts on my calendar laughed at me, as my keen eyes saw memories of us on every street in this city, I have swung between praying God wouldn’t wake me up in the morning to praying God wouldn’t waste this pain.  I have not stopped loving him.  I can’t just stop loving him. I don’t think love works like that.
I have been shown love in uncomfortable places.  I’ve crumpled into a friend’s arms when she showed up with soup and I’ve been prayed with over the phone after I broke down at the dentist’s office.  Pain won’t stay stuffed in the shoebox where you hide the notes he wrote, despair doesn’t stay hunkered down under the blanket waiting for you to slide back under the sheets at night.  Pain and despair and fear and hurt and anger and grief braid themselves into a leaden chain and then they snake their way around your neck.  The bind your wrists and ankles and lock the heaviest of padlocks over that hole in your chest, and you feel the weight of each link every single waking moment.

People who really love you hold the weight of that chain for a little while so you can breathe, but no one friend can take on your loss in it’s entirety.

My loss pales in comparison to what some around me are facing.
In the last few weeks, my boss lost her mother unexpectedly, my co-worker lost her grandmother, and today I walked past the open casket of a friend.

On New Year’s Eve day, this little home was already full by early afternoon with fellow co-hosts of my biggest bash of the year.
As we unwound decorative gold ribbon and melted chocolates for fancy desserts, I got the news that a young beautiful former coworker had died in her sleep.
I sat on the stairs in disbelief while everyone downstairs buzzed with excitement for the night’s festivities.

We want to push the pause button on pain.
So they buzzed, and I cried and stood out in the cold to compose myself.