You see, today was the day, eleven years ago, that my wonderful father left this world. Less than two months later, my mother died of a broken heart. And while my grief will never completely dissipate, losing the ones I love forced me to look at life in a new way.
I’m more tolerant than I used to be, and I see the many ways we all take our blessings for granted, how we fight amongst ourselves to prove who’s right, when, when it all comes down to it, what difference does it really make? We are all colors that make up one, beautiful rainbow. One sky.
I’d like to tell people to allow others their own opinions and beliefs, to forgive those who may have wronged us, to let go of all the petty bullshit we fight over…
…to just be kind. To the earth, to animals and to each other.
I’d like to tell people to hold those you love close, to hug them, tell them that you love them, spend as much time with them as possible. Call them on the phone once in a while. But don’t wait to make that phone call or to get together with them because you’re too busy at the moment. Cliché; yes, I know, but so very true.
Today I wait on pins and needles for the phone to buzz with a call or a text announcing the death of my favorite aunt, Marilyn. She had a stroke a few days ago, and all I’ve been getting are brief texts from my cousin asking for prayers, but I have no real information other than the few words she sent me yesterday, telling me that her mom suffered a massive stroke and that she isn’t going to recover. She said that her mom isn’t responsive other than an occasional squeezing of their hands and that it’s going to be a matter of days. I have so many more emotions than just feeling heartbroken.
Eleven years ago, along with her two remaining brothers, my dear Aunt Marilyn made the inconvenient trip on Christmas Eve, to attend my dad’s funeral. I’ll never forget what she said to me. In the kindest, most loving tone, she told me, “Isn’t it wonderful? Jack is in heaven with Jesus to celebrate His birthday!” She meant Christmas. She wasn’t being superficial; she truly believed it to be the biggest honor bestowed on a human being.
And now, here she is, getting ready to celebrate Christmas in heaven with Jesus too. I pray with all my heart that she isn’t in any pain, but for my own selfish reasons, I also hope she will at least wait until tomorrow if she has to leave this world because this date is one of the worst memories of my life.
In my imagination, I can feel my dad’s spirit hovering over his dear sister’s bedside, and the spirits of her husband, who died when all their kids were still little, leaving my aunt to raise four kids all by herself in the ‘70s, something I always respected her for. I can feel the spirits of her other brothers who preceded her in death as well—my uncles. And the spirits of her wonderful parents, my grandparents—all waiting to welcome her into their arms and into the arms of Jesus and the angels, because that is her belief, and to stand in the shining presence of her Lord and God this Christmas Day.
But I am sad beyond words, for having to lose those whom I adored with all my heart. And it seems even worse for these things to happen at Christmastime—a time that for me, used to be the happiest time of the year, a time to celebrate those I love with all my heart. I still do, but there’s a huge hole in my heart for those whose physical presence had become part of my identity and made me feel whole.
I love you, Aunt Marilyn.
I love you, Dad. (And Mom.) I miss you so very much.