Monday, December 04, 2006

"I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying"

That Sting song came to mind yesterday as I was rolling out sugar cookies...sugar cookies that I am going to have to frost with extra icing, I think, because some of them will have an odd saline aftertaste.

When we got to church yesterday morning -- a church all bright and expectant in Advent blue, with our sanctuary Christmas tree festooned in white and gold chrismons and ribbons -- we found out that my pastor's spouse's father had died overseas, after a long illness and a final visit that hadn't gone the way one would have wished. Having gone through this myself with my mother -- the delirium and confusion and belligerance of her last day on this earth, and her passing before I could get to the hospital -- I felt myself overcome with sadness. And the juxtaposition of this sadness with the visual cheer of the church sanctuary, the laughing and chattering of the kids and the old hymns of Advent longing and just got to me. I found myself weeping all the way through the service, and in offering my condolences to my pastor and his spouse, and much of the way home, and most of the way through my cookie baking.

After passing through my first parentless Thanksgiving relatively calmly and cheerfully, I'm finding that this pre-Christmas season is going to be hard; very, very hard. I thought that keeping busy and focused on other people would keep these feelings at bay...well...not so much.


Verdugo said...


I am so sorry.

Trish said...

I'm sorry you're feeling so sad. It's odd how those feelings can come unexpectedly. You're fine for some big days, your awful for others. Random, seemingly unrelated things remind you of your loved one and you're upset again. Other times, those reminders come as cheerful pokes as if to say, "Hey! How ya doin!?" I wish there was an "easy" button like those commercials say. It'd make for less salty cookies (although I'm sure they're better than anything I could bake).

the tentmaker said...

Sandra is having a hard time of it too. Her mother died about the same time as your mother.


Anonymous said...

A cyber hug may not take away much of the sadness, but I will keep you in my prayers.


Quotidian Grace said...

It will probably be pretty tough. I'm sorry. (((LC)))

Tom in Ontario said...

There's no reason to keep those feelings at bay. It hasn't been long. Like you say, it's your first parentless Christmas. Mourning takes time. Take the time. A good friend once said that a loss leaves a wound and just like any wound it takes time to heal, and even when it seems all healed there will always be a scar. It's alright to cry, it's part of the healing.


Reverend Dona Quixote said...

LC, I am praying for you too ...

My father died of a heart attack not long before Thanksgiving in 1985. Oh those holidays just after were so difficult to bear ... I refused to allow myself to cry, I denied my grief --until it became undeniable and my tears uncontrollable, the following Spring, when I noticed there were no flowers sprouting, that nothing had been planted. Then it hit me ---wham! It would have been better--and easier-- if I had cried a little or even a lot all the way along.

Tom's words are wise ones. I grew up in one of those families when, if we cried, we were told we'd be given something to REALLY cry about. Then someone told me that the earliest Christians used to pray for the grace or gift of tears, because they were so healing ... so now I have learned to give myself permission to cry at the slightest provocation, even in the most undignified manner.

I still miss my daddy, 21 years later, and ever so often shed a tear or two. But the feelings have become pleasant memories, and I feel him near whenever I use one of his tools and at many other times as well. Your pain will become less raw as the wound heals. Let the healing happen.

Beth said...


prayers for you and the pastor's spouse

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, Christmas just sucks the year after a significant loved one dies. It has nothing to do with our faith in Christ and everything to do with our humanity(and I think God understands this), and it doesn't matter whether the person was a "Christmas" person, or particularly jolly or pleasant. It's just the hole in the family, and I think it is felt more keenly at a time of year when there are sentimental traditions abounding. There's not much to do but slog through it, cry if you feel like it, do something different if you feel like it, and realize that it is something that gets easier with time.

Susie said...

Prayers and hugs for you - and Tom's words are wise. Be gentle with yourself this season.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo everyone else here, and say, be good to yourself, and gentle. If FT can comfort you, let her.

Christmas is somehow more intense than Thanksgiving, I think--and it is so hyped, and anticipated, and there are so many traditions around it.

You are thought of and prayed for.


Evelyn said...

(((( LutheranChik ))))

It's SO hard to allow ourselves to feel the grief, isn't it?

I can relate (albeit on a different level), because a dear friend of mine died from cancer a month ago. Last year she was one of the most joyous people at the church when we decorated the Chrismon trees. She was especially joyous because her original prognosis left little hope of her being here LAST Christmas. It will probably be hard for me to be a part of the decorating this year.

I'm going to go anyway, and allow myself to feel whatever feelings come up. Feelings aren't "good" or "bad"........ they just ARE.

I do so appreciate your blog, LC!

Anonymous said...

The holidays bring up all our empty spaces, especially in times of grief. Don't worry about the right way to do it -- just let your body/spirit do what it needs to. Gather close to those who love you and know that as you stumble toward Bethlehem, there are those who will lift you up when you stumble. You are in my prayers, especially since I also am a recent "adult orphan".

Anonymous said...

You're not alone. Everyone who is connected with Jesus grieves with you. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrow, said the propeht isaiah. Let the love of Mary, the mother of Jesus, envelope you in the weeks ahead.

zorra said...

It will be hard. My dad died seven years ago and the grief still sneaks up on me at odd times. Christmas has become easier over the past couple of years. I pray that you will have the space and safety to grieve however you need to, whenever you need to.

Grace said...


I'm so sorry. I've lost both of my parents, and especially in the beginning it's always hardest around the holidays.

Hug and prayers.

St. Inuksuk said...

(((LC))) Certainly a place I have been in recent years. My cooking has contained the tears of loss and somehow that food was graced nontheless. I've sprinkled laughter in some dishes too.
Allow yourself to grieve and let your tears drop into the manger for Christ is there to receive them.