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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Rachel

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  

The holidays can be difficult, as so many things can trigger memories.  For me, even though this is the seventh Christmas without Rachel, I still have a hard time.  In the wee hours of Christmas morning, I found myself unable to sleep, truly missing my daughter.  As the tears flowed unbidden, I longed to have her near.  

Recent events of the tragedy that befell Sandy Hook has reminded me of what is missing in my life.  As I thought of all those parents, both young and old, who this holiday would not be able to watch their child open gifts, my heart sank.  My heart longed to reach out to them, knowing full well the emptiness that is staring them squarely in the face.  Of unopened gifts, of promises broken, dreams left unfulfilled, and of all the doubt and confusion that we are left with.  

As a parent, the loss of a child is beyond anything we can explain, it is a hurt and pain that we carry with us always.  Each passing year eases the ache, but we still feel the absence.  Yet, in my hurt I feel the warmth of Rachel's love, her endearing presence, and I know in my heart of hearts that she is near, that she is with me always.  

A beautiful song was sung at the Christmas Eve Mass, that pulled at my heart strings: 

 When Love Was Born by Mark Schultz

Starlight shines, the night is still
Shepherds watch from a hill
I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born

Perfect child gently waits
A mother bends to kiss God's face
I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born

Angels fill the midnight sky, they sing
Hallelujah, He is Christ, our King

Emmanuel, Prince of peace
Loves come down for you and me
Heaven's gift, the holy spark
To let the way inside our hearts

Bethlehem, through your small door
Came the hope we've waited for
The world was changed forevermore
When love was born

I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born

As I listen to the lyrics, as I tried to sing along, the words of the second stanza gripped me, and all I could think of was the night Rachel was born, and how an unbelievable love had entered into my life.  The love of mother and child, a love that allows us to look beyond any imperfection to see, truly see, the beauty that lies within.  A love that reaches beyond the the grave, a love that conquers all, a love that even death cannot diminish, but rather grows even stronger.

Rachel, like your loved one, may be gone from sight, but the love that permeates our very being, lets us know that they are very near.  That they are very much a presence in our lives, and that we are forever changed, because they were a major part of it.  It is the memories that they created, that help me and so many others, face the holidays and special events.  It is the cherished traditions, and the start of new ones dedicated to the memory of our loved one, that see us through.  Let these memories bring you comfort, let them fill you with love and joy, and if they bring a tear or two, let them flow; allow the healing to begin.

Merry Christmas Rachel, and to all those who are spending their first Christmas in heaven.  Let your love pour down on us all, keep us all safe, and hold us gently as we travel through our grief.

Blessings! and until we meet again.

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