Joys and Sorrows During the Holidays

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The holidays can be incredibly difficult.  Families are separated by miles of road and perhaps the oceans, as many have left home seeking employment or ministry.  Those miles can decrease the amount of intimacy a family living close together can enjoy.

When a loved one is sick, those miles become barriers.

I experienced the cruelty of a distance caused by those miles while my family lived in South Dakota.  My mother had COPD, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and many other ailments due to these dibilitating diseases.  Her health declined a great deal right after we moved there….and just before Thanksgiving, I felt I needed to get home.

I packed up three children (ages 6, 4 and 17 months) and flew home alone (1223).  My Dad met me at the airport (which was two hours from his home) and helped me get the children to our rental car.  He may never know how much that thirty minutes he was able to help meant to me….(1224).

That was probably one of the most difficult weeks of my life.  My mother had just returned home from the hospital and I had three small children to take care of.  She was on some intense medication and it was one of those weeks where it seemed nothing I did was right.

I really could not talk with anyone about the experience while I was there.  My Dad came, he sat and talked and my brother’s family spent time with us. But,it was hard. (1225-1226).

While it as difficult, it was wonderful watching my children spend time with My Mom.

I spent that week helping my Mom and knowing that she would not be with us much longer.  We laughed, cried and argued.  We watched movies with the children and while she rested, I took my children out to the parks I had played on as a child and we ate ice cream at the very best ice cream parlor in the world (I may be biased, as I worked there while I was in highschool and it’s the very place I met my husband!)  (1227-1230)

Thanksgiving Day arrived.  It was to be my Mother’s last Thanksgiving day….and I did not spend it with her.  I had to return home.  I can’t remember why I thought it would be best to fly back that day.  It may have been the price of tickets, wanting to get the children settled….my mind can not recall those details.

What I do remember is that I gave my Mom a hug and poured out a list of reasons I was thankful for her. She hugged my children and we drove away. (1231)

That was the last time I saw my Mom standing on her back patio.  She was smiling and blowing kisses at my children and I knew it would be the last time I would see her standing there….

Some moments are etched forever in a mind.  Many hold on to firsts.  Me, I work hard to hold on to each and every moment that may be a last.  Perhaps that’s because I don’t remember the last moment I saw my brother before he was killed.

Those miles stretched forever.  They were a barrier.

If you have lost a loved one or are walking this journey now… are not alone.  There may be miles creating a chasm keeping you from loved ones to share this time of joy and grief with.  Or, they may be keeping you from the loved one you know will be leaving this world soon.

Please know, truly-you are not alone.  Spend time with friends or other relatives you are near.  Share your sorrow and your joy. Do not bottle up the sorrow you are feeling and remember to find joy in treasuring moments you have with those you are around.

Call your family, write letters, keep a journal and even look at pictures.  If you have children, share stories with them, create new memories, but remember, each moment we are given is a gift.

If you can drive or fly to be with a loved one who may be spending their last moments on this earth – do it!  Take this time to build more memories.  If you can’t, call them on Skype, on the phone, send pictures or videos.  Technology can help reduce those miles.

Take time to share your joys and your sorrows.

This post is part of a series, not written daily, but written to help anyone experiencing a time of sorrow due to loss.My love goes out to all as we walk this path together.

Links to other posts in the series:



(If you are wondering about the numbers…I’m counting my blessings today.  You can join in too at A Holy Experience)

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  1. Praying for you this holiday season, Rebecca. I have yet to experience the loss of anyone close to me, but I know it can happen any time, for any of us. <3

    • cindy, thank you sweet friend. I pray that as this series rolls around….the true beauty of grace, mercy and the time we have here on this orb are a blessing to many – who know they are loved!

  2. I will be praying for you my dear friend. My dad passed away 5 days after Father’s Day in 2007. The Tuesday after Father’s Day, we came back to NC because they said he would be going home and have several months left of life. The next day (Wednesday), my SIL called and said to get back to FL ASAP. He passed away that Friday evening about 2 hours after I left the hospital. I will never forget it.

    • Joy, I am so sorry for the pain that I hear in your words. Our Parents LOVE us…and it seems they will be here, with us since they have been with us – since our beginning here. It’s a change to our life puzzle….when they leave us. Praying for you and will continue, as the months go by and on Father’s Day especially!

  3. As I read these posts, I am saddened by all of the heartache you have endured. What a strong woman of courage you are. You’re strength has blessed and helped many.

    • Robin, Thank you! We are promised not to be given more than we can handle. Some days, it seems like I can’t handle one.more.thing….but, God knows more and he grows me. It’s for His purpose…. Thank you and I pray that as this series continues…many more will be blessed and they will know they are loved.