Haha... Kinda a family saying in my mom's house, as she was known years ago for "canceling Christmas." But tonight- perhaps I understand it a bit more as to why she would even want to call it (Christmas) off.
As I was attempting to do some Christmas shopping this evening (which, BTW, was a complete disaster...and I now have 5 days to complete it all???), I realized and had to admit to myself that if I did not have children- that this year- for the first time ever... I would indeed "cancel Christmas." It is so hard to get into the spirit of things when deep in the middle of grief. Especially when the spirit includes wonderful FAMILY traditions that are having to be carried out despite the situation. We really do try to make things majestic for our kids, don't we?
This leads me to this: Last week (or maybe the week before- I don't remember) I posted something about loss. I guess it was my small effort to actually address to my self- and the world- the loss I have experienced recently. For a few weeks now I have felt the need to shout something about it from a mountain top- though I know most people would not even hear or acknowledge the fact that a divorce- especially when one party is having it thrust upon them- is indeed a grandiose loss. No- he didn't die and his children can talk to him still when they need to... I KNOW it's different... but it's not, either. And I have not known how to express this without sounding ridiculously self-centered... that is until tonight. In a book I am reading I found this: (This is Judith Viorst, in her book Necessary Losses, describing lost love, separation and possible divorce as bring similar in many ways to death.)
Although my focus here is on mourning the death of those we love, I should mention that the other marital death is called divorce. For the breakup of a marriage is like the death of a spouse, and will often be mourned in closely parallel ways. There are some important distinctions: Divorce evokes more anger than death, and it is, of course, considerably more optional. But, the sorrow and pining and yearning can be as intense. The denial and despair can be intense. The guilt and self-reproach can be as intense. And the feeling abandonment can be even more intense- He didn't have to leave me; he CHOSE to leave me.
Wow... talk about hitting the nail on the head. There is one other thing I would like to add to that, though- and that is the element of support. Though I could go on for awhile here about the differences, I think the biggest one is this: When someone dies- the whole world surfaces to show support and love. When your husband walks out on you- the world whispers and avoids the topic- and at times, even you. Should I own that? When MY husband walked out on me, the world whispered and avoided the topic... and at times... even me. I even have friends (and family) that are so uncomfortable with the whole situation, they simply don't even acknowledge that there is one.
The stages of grief are real, and as I walk through them slowly and unpredictably, I am glad that the one true constant in my life has not changed. Jesus Christ. Happy birthday, Jesus... and I'll try to be less of a bah humbugger this year...
For now you know in part, but one day you will understand it all... (1 Cor 13:9)