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…..you 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:
- Day 1: Walking Through The Pain of Death
- Day 2: Losing a Parent to Death is Never Easy
- Day 3: Joys and Sorrows During the Holiday
- Day 4: A Mom’s Best Gift To Her Children
(If you are wondering about the numbers…I’m counting my blessings today. You can join in too at A Holy Experience)Please note, this post contains affiliate links. See disclosure for full information