Such a void — unique to no one person, place or time — is deepened ever more when the passing comes during the traditionally joyous holidays.
When children lose a parent, when siblings say goodbye one last time, when a husband’s tears cloud precious memories of his wife, when a father buries his son ... the pain is no less deep for any. When such sadness comes in the surround of Yuletide merriment both near and far, it seems unjust.
And in truth, it is.
Yet, it is real. Death is an inherent part of life. Its inevitability is as certain as the morning dawn and as final as the evening dusk.
But with personal loss comes even stronger love. With seemingly cavernous void grows deeper meaning. With such dreaded angst blooms a soft and warming comfort.
With Christmas Eve only hours away and Christmas morn within tender reach, we are reminded of the reality of saying goodbye. This message of life, of loss and most importantly of love came to those within the Cleveland and Bradley County community just recently.
It was a brief note of encouragement brought to this newspaper’s readers by a grown son who reflected on the special love that only a mom can bring. Her passing came three years ago and only 11 days before Christmas.
In tribute to this unspoken bond, one shared by mothers and their sons worldwide and which anchors the very foundation of family, allow us to quote from his message. It is one that surely has been told by others through the ages, yet its warmth is no less comforting today.
Printed verbatim, it reads:
“This past Saturday, December 14, marked the third anniversary of the day my mother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s, but won the victory thru our Lord Jesus Christ and entered into eternal life. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and I miss her very much.
“My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to family members who have lost loved ones during the holiday season. I know how difficult it is to try and celebrate this joyous occasion of our Savior’s birth, while at the same time missing someone so very deeply.
“May God comfort you and give you peace during the holidays. May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand and give you strength. This is my prayer for you this holiday season.”
It was written by Mark Grissom, owner of Grissom Funeral Home & Cremation Services.
We thank Mark for this message. His are not only words of strength, they are a parable of hope — one born from shared experience, one gleaned from the miracle of a mother’s love.
In keeping with this Clevelander’s wishes, and with empathy for all whose heavy hearts sometimes bring a tear and other times a smile at Christmastime, allow us this reprint of a poem whose words we pray will bring comfort to all who now embrace only the memories of lives once shared.
Its author is unknown.
‘My First Christmas In Heaven’
I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,
With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear,
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
But sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me; I see the pain inside your heart,
But I am not so far away, we really aren’t apart.
So be happy for me dear loved ones, you know I hold you dear,
And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, LOVE is the gift, more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do,
For I can’t count the blessing or love He has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear.
Remember, I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
No love is more genuine than that which only a mother can give. Its depth runs deeper than the oceans and its whisper spans the breadth of any valley in this world we call Earth.
In honor of moms everywhere, and for all who are missed on this day, we wish Cleveland and Bradley County a family Christmas of unending joy.
To mourn the loss of one who is so beloved is not a holiday season lost.
It is instead a time of higher miracle gained.