When Holidays Are Holey Days

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How do you define holidays

Merriam-Webster defines it this way ...

hol-i-days noun \ˈhä-lə-ˌdāz\

  1. holy days
  2. days on which one is exempt from work
  3. days marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event

For those who grieve, holidays can seem like holey-days.

holey-days adjective \ˈhō-lēˌdāz \

  1. days having holes

Holidays often feel like holey days  – days that remind us that there is, and always will be, a hole in our hearts and homes. A hole in the form of an empty chair, a missing member of the family, a feeling that life will never be "normal" again. A hole formed when a parent is no longer living, or a child is taken way too soon by a terminal illness or accident. Perhaps a hole created by a prodigal who has chosen to just walk away.

Regardless the reason for the hole, literature on death and grief tell us it is actually healing to acknowledge it. Jesus said ~Blessed are those who mourn [who feel the pain and express it], for they shall be comforted

These holey days can be a precious time to remember ~ to share stories, laughter and tears about the loved one who is no longer present with you. Holey days are a wonderful time to transform the relationship from one of presence to one of memory. For it has been said ~ memories are where the proof of life are stored.

I am very familiar with the emotions of holey days. I know the horror of brain death, and the conflicting emotions of signing papers to donate my sixteen year old son's organs to save the lives of strangers. I know the sorrow of having an estranged parent who chose to not be in my life for almost 10 years. I know there will always be times I wish I could call my mom.

I know how God has used all things to glorify Himself and draw others to His kingdom. I have seen how His hand move to bring value to my loss. And I know that I will one day see my loved ones and forever live with them in eternity.

But all the knowledge in the world does not change the fact that these special days, these holidays, often feel like holey days to my grieving heart. It is a time to give ourselves grace; to offer grace to those who grieve.

So I give myself permission to acknowledge the pain as I feel that weight of grief bearing down on me. I purposefully bring to mind the precious memories of each loved one, even though these memories may bring tears to my eyes and an aching in my heart. For this I know, memories are the proof that they will always be a part of us.

To speak the name of the dead is to make them live again.  –Egyptian Proverb

Happy Birthday, Scott

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Dear Scott,

Today is your birthday. I remember the day you came into this world on November 23, 1979.  I could never have imagined then that the day would come when I no longer had the joy of your presence in my life.

You would be thirty-one years old today, Scott. I wonder how you would look as a man. What would you be doing with your life? Who would have won your heart and be your wife? How many children would you have? Oh, how much I long to have you still be present in my life.

I remember a few weeks before you died, you came home from babysitting Ciera and Matthew Fry.  You sat down on the couch, put your hands behind your head, and with such an air of confidence, declared, I can't wait to be a Dad!

You loved to spend time with children ~ to play with them, share your faith with them, and teach them things you knew how to do. I remember another night about that same time when you babysat so Dayn and Kati could go out. Garon could not get to sleep that night. You told me you just sat next to him on his bed, rubbed his curly-haired head, and sang Alleluia, because  that is what helped you go to sleep when you were his age. You would have been a great Dad, Scott!

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You have been gone from us for almost fifteen long years. So many years to wait to see you again, and yet, so much time to cherish the memories of your short sixteen years of life. Memories are where the proof of life is stored.  I treasure my storehouse of Scott-memories. I thank God that you left so much proof of your relationship with Jesus Christ that we wait with an assurance and a hope that there will be a blessed reunion, we will see you again.

Your are loved and missed by not only Dad, Amy and I.  You are missed by Jeff.  The song he wrote ~ The Brother I've Yet to Meet ~ shares his desire to have known you and have you be a part of his life now.  Kaitlyn, Kyle and Jack miss you ~ we share our memories of you with them, and they love to hear and tell Scott stories.

Kaitlyn asked me yesterday, How old is Uncle Scott going to be tomorrow? I loved that she asked me in the present tense because although you are not physically part of our lives, you are forever part of our lives as we have transformed our relationship with you from one of presence to one of memory.  Kaitlyn knows with confidence that although your life on earth has ended, you are more alive today than ever in His presence.

Perhaps the words of the song by Mercy Me captures the content of my heart today ~ If home is where my heart is, than I'm out of place ... I've never been more homesick than now.

Happy Birthday, Scott.

Love,
Mom