No matter the season or how long it’s been, grief still has a way of melting you – melting your heart, causing your eyes to puddle.
I started the month talking about how this Christmas season felt different - lighter more spirited. I wanted to celebrate this year - put up decorations, watch silly movies and more. I still do, but recently have felt the sorrow of Christmas’ past drifting in at times.
The cool breeze of loss hits me most in ministry settings - a special church event or activity. I expect it is because for over a decade, Josh and I did ministry life together. We often would do separate things within a service, but at the end of the event or night I knew, at some point, I’d look up and see his smiling face across the way. We’d wrap up the night talking about how things went, the highlights, challenges or conversations we had. It was a shared moment and over the years it was hundreds of shared moments - especially at Christmas.
Today, in this next chapter, I'm creating new memories with people who didn't know Josh - they never even met him. It’s very weird, it’s sad, and feels a bit like a grief speed bump. There are many things I'd love for my new friends to know about him, but even my descriptions fall flat (in my own mind).
Navigating all the feelings of Christmas, changing seasons, the new with the old and familiar is complex. I often try to figure it out but there's not a perfect strategy. As much as I would like to place my various emotions in nice little organized Christmas boxes with bows, they doesn't really fit - grief is messy and can't be boxed up.
So, I continue to work out my grief, knowing I have to feel it -- yet again. I have to leave space to acknowledge that it is still painful. And that in this second year of Christmas grief, there’s still a lot to feel. There are new joys, friendships and memories occurring, yet even these bring new avenues of grief to navigate and ponder.
If you are entering Christmas season with fresh or even lingering grief, know that God is with you. You are not alone in this and you aren't crazy - there is a lot more stirring at Christmas than mice - especially when it comes to our hearts that are heavy because of the great love we have both experienced and lost.
Merry Christmas Friends!
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.