Christmas is a time when everyone is expected to be joyful. As a matter of fact most people try to put on their best smile and give the impression that it is really a merry Christmas. After all who wants to be the Grinch during Christmas? Especially when you have little children who believe in the magic of Christmas, and they know that mom and dad don’t lie about Santa- because you know he does come down the chimney, eat the cookies left on Christmas eve and then leave generous gifts for the little ones.
But the truth of life is that life happens. Christmas or not, life goes on. Good things happen as well as the not so merry. It happened to me. Christmas of 2006, I woke up early, gathered my children and husband and we sat down by the Christmas tree to begin our Christmas ritual of opening gifts. The kids were jolly excited. What a joy it was to see their mouths and eyes wide open as they opened their gifts.
After the gift opening ceremony, we had breakfast and then I decided to check my emails to see if I had any mail from my family overseas. The only email I had was from my sister. As I continued to read the email, the news I was about to receive, I was not prepared for. Not even in a million years. My sister broke the news to me that she had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and that she had not much time to live. For a moment my whole body became numb. I felt like I was floating in space or like I was in a vacuum with no air. I tried to speak, but words could not come out of my mouth. I could not find the words and I was shaking terribly.
My husband realized something was wrong and trying not to cause alarm to the kids asked me what was wrong. After struggling to find the right words, I mumbled to him “how do you deal with grief on a Christmas morning?’ The pain in my heart was so great. I felt like someone had jabbed a sword in my heart. The memory of this Christmas morning is always so vivid in my mind because that morning I started grieving for my sister. And five months later she passed away.
Since then, every Christmas morning reminds me of her death. The years that preceded I did not want to celebrate Christmas because that reminded me that I could not take the phone to wish her a merry Christmas nor could I receive another email from her. It was only after attending a grief counseling session that I learned that I could use Christmas morning as a happy memorial for the good times we had together and to celebrate her life. Therefore every Christmas morning I set a sacred moment to meditate and honor her.