What You've Been Waiting For
The last Christmas preparations were just about finished. It had been a fruitful time of waiting. But then, ten years makes for a long Advent.
Traditionally, the Church encourages this Advent, this season of waiting and preparing for our Lord's coming at Christmas to prepare our hearts for His coming. The readings during this season draw us out of ourselves and ask us to look deeper, to make way for the Spirit of the Lord in the joyous season of Christmas.
Christmas Eve has always been spent with my in-laws; Christmas Day with my family. That weekend was no different. But, on this particular night I was understandably just not able to celebrate with my husband's family as my mother lie in a coma at her home by her request, just a few miles away. I quietly slipped away and joined one of my sisters at Mom's bedside.
Instead of her voice, I discovered that even here in this state, her emotion for this song remained. Tears that were nowhere present just moments before fell from her eyes. Somewhere, she was hearing this favorite once more and perhaps singing--though now in a voice that was not audible to me. This time, she was singing for her Savior. She was at peace in a place we don’t quite understand. I stayed for another hour or so and then returned to the celebration not far away.
A few short hours later, with my brother at her side, she slipped away. With this bright star who we had thought healthy just five months before now gone, we gathered at her bedside to pray before the funeral home came to assist. One by one, everyone left. It was Christmas morning, and everyone had somewhere to be. I found it hard to leave at that moment, so I poured a cup of tea and stayed for a while. Trying to collect my thoughts on all that had transpired over the last few months; trying to take it all in.
Ten years later I have made peace with Christmas again. For these many years, just getting out the decorations made all of the sorrow flood back again. Only with great effort did I participate in any Christmas ‘cheer’. Then, having been surrounded with my own family, all of the joyous things of the season were carefully put away as was my angst at loosing Mom at such a time and the stressful ‘preparation’ for her parting.