Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Grieving of Christmas

Christmas is a time of deep joy and deep pondering and intense giddy highs.
Especially with children.

But so too it can be a time to step into the deeps, Christmas. It is also the time, for some, of some depression and hard periods if you've suffered loss (family, work, health). 
For a relatively newly-adopted older child, it is still a time for the giddy highs....but oh, it is so much the time for grieving.
Deep, unbidden grieving.

This grief seems to come at them, and me, when you least expect it.
Which of course means that they/I should begin to expect it, right?
Except, you can't.
Or, I can't.
And really, I don't think she can either.
Because I cannot begin to comprehend it, not I have not personally experienced such loss or trauma, not even close.
I cannot begin to really measure the depth of it.
Or the breadth, even.
So, we both get kind of gobsmacked by it all.

And all we can do is brace for it as it swells and overtakes.
And, sigh.  And try, to hold what we know, to each other.
Hang on, soothe, redirect, wait, hold, endure. 
Sounds easier than it is.
Because it's exhausting.
It's the hardest of work of course, for both of us.

And it's padded all around by woolly tufts of good and happy true grins and recognition of comfortable new grooves being laid down. 
But those chasms, they are deep and dark, with jagged tearing edges.
They hurt.
They ache.
They make me ache.
They make her ache even more.
They are exhausting.

And while it's oh so easy for me to throw the pity party and say, gosh Christmas this year was so grieve myself for what I wanted it to be, only....
I think in a way that Christmas, this Christmas, was a chance to actually live Christmas more, um,  accurately.
Because I guess it's closer to a truer Christmas, really, with both the joy of the birth/bringing of a new child into a family...and the cross that each child brings and that we all have to bear.
We bear it for ourselves and for each other.
So, I choose to reframe it, our Christmas, this year.

So, today, the last day of the Octave of Christmas, I can say:
Christmas at our house was crazy busy,
full of work,
full of fun,
full of highs,
full of lows,
full of grief.
Christmas at our house was exhilarating.
It was exhausting.
Christmas at our house was glorious.


Anonymous said...

You are an amazing lady and mother. Marta is indeed fortunate to have parents that recognize and support her need to grieve. I know that the lows will become less over time and that you will always be there for her through the years when the "waves" rise up unexpected. When grieving it is so important to have someone who understands your need to be sad and/or angry at times and to not be afraid to remember with you the people and the life you have lost.

God Bless,


Colleen said...

Well put. I applaude the fact that you adopted an older child, especially when we all want "babies".

An adoptive mom of a younger child,

Christine said...

M, I agree that the range of emotions can indeed be glorious. To face it together, as a family, to hold up, to distract one another from the individual aches, to be present to one another, that is grace.

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful. You captured the conflicting and powerful emotions for this time of year so well. Thank you for sharing them with us. You should publish. :)

Blessings to you and your family,

Wolfemom said...

Oh M.... so well said... again! You put 'it' into words so well. I especially get when you say it wasn't the Christmas you had hoped for. It's so hard to express it to others. They imagine a once orphan who is now part of a family and think it should be wonderful. The kids have so much loss. One of mine plugged their ears at the Christmas music and made a huge fuss every time we played it. It was so frustrating until.... they later confessed the memories make it too much to hear.

Be blessed. Let's talk soon.

Thankfulmom said...

It sounds like we had similar experiences. Honeybee, in particular, has had her share of sorrow this Christmas. It is hard to slow down and give her all that she needs...I've been thinking of this all day.

Your guest post will be up on my blog this Monday! Thank you so much for sharing your insightful words.


The Albertsons said...

the best part of it all is that you allow it. she gets to grieve. does that make sense? so many people with her kind of past don't even get the opportunity to grieve, heal, and grow.... they have no one to bear it with them, so it turns into destruction, slow suicide. She gets to grieve and heal. that is a miracle. you are her miracle.