We always started our celebration of Christmas at midnight. My gift to family members and guests was their own personal ornament, which they each hung on our live tree with their own blessing. Afterwards, we would convene in the living room, where we watched the children open their bounty. Then, presents were passed out to each of us, and we opened and gushed over them all. While I offered my annual prank every Christmas, my husband, Bob, would offer the proverbial annual surprise for some unsuspecting family member or visiting friend – a really special gift. He loved Christmas.
The Christmas of 2007 changed our tradition. We waited until early morn to open gifts; our joy was stifled by what was happening in an adjacent room. Bob was transitioning – passing away from recurring metastatic lung cancer. We did the best we could that Christmas to be with Bob and to celebrate our own light through the children. He was in an intentional place of peace, with family and friends gathered around him as he made his transition. A light bulb flickered, and we knew he was gone; on Christmas night, he was gone.
Subsequently, we would laugh about his chosen time of departure, “He knew what he was doing, leaving us on Christmas. He was like…you won’t forget me!” Yes, we will never forget him, and yes, Christmas remains bittersweet. During the holiday season we turn our faces, however briefly, from the flare of celebration to a place of remembrance. We inevitably surrender to a range of emotions.
As a former Bereavement Coordinator, I know the drill: change traditions, do exactly what you want to do, talk about your loved one, etc. For example, while our family may invite others for Thanksgiving, up to now we do not invite outsiders for Christmas. We still feel the need to be extremely intimate on Christmas.
I have exercised so many of the tools suggested to get through the holidays. Yet sadness finds its way to me from a subconscious place, and what I call a silent night of the soul begins. It is quiet and lonely; it is that place where no one else can provide solace. When it comes, I simply take time to feel it. I do the “ugly cry,” as Oprah calls it, or I smile and remember.
The feeling passes, but if I must, I will call an extension of my family, a friend. (My immediate family has their own silent nights.) I ask them to simply listen as I spill my guts, and when done, I am usually OK. The point is I do reach out. Spirit also invokes me to reach out by giving in a physical way to individuals and charities. My giving eases my pain, and it also honors and celebrates loved ones no longer here.
For all who experience a silent night of the soul, please know you are not alone. I hope you will find your way through your feelings. After embracing them, I hope they take you to a place that renders healing. Be selfish; reach out to those in need. You see, giving to others will come right back to you – silent night/holy night.
Originally from Chicago, Vicki Goldston, (Victorine), now calls the Shoals area home. She has three children, (including a son-in-love), and 3 grand children, all who add texture to the fabric of her life.
Teaching Conscious Living through God Within You, Vicki is the Pastor Emeritus of Living Spirit Church, an Independent, New Thought ministry, in Florence, AL. Minister Vicki is an Inspirational Speaker; a Contributing Author of a Chicken Soup book, The Miracle of Tithing, by Mark Victor Hansen; and the author of her own book, Be S.A.F.E. (Still, Aware, Faithful, and Excellent). She is the president of Camp Goldston Publishing, LLC. and the founder of Garden Spices Magazine. She facilitates her workshop, Abundance Therapy, and is the Founder/Facilitator of Revelations: A Ministry. She is also a member of the CORE Drummers.
Her slogan is: “It’s all good/God” and Minister Vicki believes “love” has the final word.