Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Mourning

My mother-in-law died, unexpectedly, last May. So, this is our first Christmas without her. It has been hard, especially for my husband. He was the baby of the family. It doesn't help that mental illness, such as depression, runs in his family. He has been on medication for it for several years. I have come to realize that he doesn't process things like I think he should, and it is hard for me to remember that, at times. But, he has been on edge lately. Sometimes it is hard on our family. He seems bitter, and we have to walk on egg shells around him for fear that we will get the brunt of his negativity lashed out at us. It's only words, but sometimes they hurt just as bad as physical abuse would. I try to explain it to my teenage sons. "This is dad's first Christmas without his mom. This is the way he is dealing with it." They hear me, but I don't think they realize the toll that mental illness takes on someone who suffers from it. They don't understand that people with mental illness think and act differently than we do. "Why can't he just think about good things?," they ask. It doesn't work that way. Believe me, I sure wish they did! But no, he will have to work through this his his own way, in his own time. And, we need to be here to support him every step of the way. Things will get better. Time heals all wounds. In the meantime, we feel the loss, too. I lost a great mother-in-law. My kids lost a wonderful grandmother. Her loss has changed the dynamics of our extended family. My father-in-law has learned how to wash his own clothes!! He has become remarkably independent since living for so long with a loving wife who waited on him hand and foot. My sister-in-law, being the only daughter, has also cried many tears since that fateful day when she learned that her mother had suffered a heart attack at the wheel. The two other sons have been dealing with it in their own way, as well, although I don't know how, personally. I'm sure their wives could write a lot of what I have written about my husband.

I just thought it appropriate to ask you all to remember those of us who are suffering the loss of a loved one this Christmas season. We will go on with our celebrations, but it will never be the same...

I'm Spending Christmas With Jesus Christ This Year

I see the countless Christmas trees,
Around the world below.
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars,
Reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away that tear.
For I'm spending Christmas,
With Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare,
With the Christmas choir up here.
For I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description,
To hear the angels sing.
I can't tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas,
With our Savior, face to face?
I'll ask Him to light your spirit,
As I tell Him of your love.
So then pray one for another,
As I lift you eyes above.
Please let your hearts be joyful,
And let your spirit sing.
For I'm Spending Christmas in Heaven,
And I'm walking with the King
~© Wanda Bencke ~

~In loving memory of Patricia Eason Rowell, 1940-2008

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