My Christmas Sermon, given December 2014, in Frankfurt, Germany

The Nativity by Brian Kershisnik©

The Nativity by Brian Kershisnik©

Hanging prominently in the entryway of our home is a painting.

In its original, the painting is life-sized, as big as this entire podium. Off-center are three people: Joseph, Mary, and the Child. Joseph is shown on his knees on the ground, one hand draped on the shoulder of Mary, the other placed over half of his face, his eyes closed, mouth half-opened, as if caught mid-groan, mid-prayer, mid- revelation. Mary also sits on the ground, her legs stretched straight out before her, draped in a smooth white hand-spun cloth. Her one hand reaches up to gently clasp the hand of her Joseph. She looks tired but radiant — one strand of loose hair falls as she tips her head forward gazing down into her arms, which hold a small, reddish brown baby. The child is nuzzled up against her to nurse. That first taste of mortality.

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Kneeling also on the ground and leaning into the scene facing Mary are two women––midwives, we conclude, because they’re washing their bloodied hands in a basin. They complete the circle of family who’ve helped bring this baby into this world.

Then almost as an afterthought, there are the dog and two puppies, straining their looks upwards, aware of something else ––something bigger, something cosmic, even––going on right over their heads, all around them.

Most of the canvas is about what is unseen, this huge whoosh of beings––angels dressed in white robes––swooping from one side of then up and around and over the heads of the family––up out the top right corner of the painting, into and across and throughout the heavens. You might not see their faces from where you sit––some are stunned, some laughing, some singing with their heads thrown back, some shedding tears. Again the angels fill the biggest part of the canvas, well over half of it, and give the whole scene its swirling movement and surging energy.

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You know what this is. It’s the pictorial rendition of what I sang for you last week, “O Holy Night,” the night of our dear Savior’s birth. The holiest family and holiest night in all history, the most meaningful moment for all mankind and even to the entire creation, worlds without number, time without end.

It’s a Christmas painting, a holiday painting. But for me, it’s about far more than one Holy Night or Holy Family or holy day or holiday. It’s both a universal and intensely personal painting for me, and so it always hangs in our home, not just during this season, as a year-round reminder of our family’s most personal, most holy night.

What I want to share with you is personal, believing that the more personal a thing is, the more universal. But I know that I do so at certain risk. I ask that you will pray that what I’m going to share with you, you will receive with the Spirit. There is no way sacred things can be understood but by the power and translation of the Holy Spirit. I’m going to share sacred things about this son’s birth and our son’s death.

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Seven years ago, while vacationing at my parent’s home in Utah, I received a late night telephone call. A voice told me that our son Parker had been involved in a serious water accident. I was told Parker had been trying to save the life of a college classmate who had been drowning. That boy survived. But Parker, I was told, had been “underwater for a very long time, Mrs. Bradford.” He was, however, “stable.” I should nevertheless come as fast as I possibly could.

My husband Randall was still in Munich, overseeing details from our move that very week from Paris, where we’d lived for many years. I called him and told him to come––somehow come––to Idaho immediately.

  • As I drove alone 5 hours through total darkness from Utah into the rocky, dry desolation of southeastern Idaho, I wasn’t thinking of the Holy Family. I had no thought of Mary and Joseph’s long, arduous 8-10 day trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Instead, I was praying aloud behind the steering wheel of a rental car. I was pleading with God to save my child. He would, I knew it. And after all, remember, I’d been told Parker was “stable.”

  • I wasn’t thinking of the stable in Bethlehem with its animals and smell, its straw, its dirt floor… as I walked into the hospital with its antiseptic smell, its white walls and fluorescent lights, its scrubbed medical personnel.

Instead, I was trying to take in what I saw: my son stretched out on a gurney, a white sheet covering his lower body, a ventilator shooshing air into his lungs. I clutched my scriptures in my arms, the first thing I’d put in my overnight bag. I’d planned to read them to my son while he recovered, while science and faith worked miracles, while my firstborn came out from a deep coma, came back to life. Now, instead, I whispered ancient prophets’ testimonies into his ear.

  • I wasn’t thinking of shepherds leaving their flocks or wise men traveling from the east as family and friends got word of Parker’s accident and called or came––by car, by plane––from the west coast and the east coast, western Europe, Asia, gathering literally with us as we labored against death.

No, I had no thoughts of shepherds and wise men, nor was I thinking of Mary’s possible midwives. Instead, I watched the two nurses who came frequently to check on my son and adjust his tubing.

  • And I wasn’t thinking of heavenly hosts. Well … at least not at first. Until I became aware of a presence and felt something happening in––filling up––that hospital room. I felt a gathering, a vibrating, warm, thick presence of spirits. While that gathering took place, the veil between the mortal and immortal realms grew thin. There was a palpable presence in that room. Those who came and went commented on it. Right there, in the face of unspeakable horror was an undeniable never-before-known holiness.

I waited the many painful hours until my dear husband, by a series of miracles, arrived. At 7:00 p.m. that next evening, pale and breathless, Randall burst through the doors. I watched every frame as it passed without soundtrack, feeling torn to pieces like a melting hulk of upheaval, as my boy’s best friend and father steadied himself against the scene that met his eyes. From one step to the next, he aged fifty years. “Parker, oh, sweet son. Sweet, sweet son.” Silence and awe. There are moments that cannot and should not be rendered in words.

  • And it was then and there, together, bent over the body of our gorgeous child that our thoughts did go instinctively to The Holy Family. With our child stretched out under a white sheet on what felt like an altar before us, with me wrapped in a blue polyester hospital blanket, my husband groaning, weeping, praying, seeking revelation, we thought about Mary’s and Joseph’s and our Heavenly Mother’s and Father’s exquisite and infinite agony. We felt the smallest, sharpest edge of their immeasurable sacrifice.

“For God so loved the world,” John wrote, “that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

—(John 3:16)

And then came these words: “Mr. and Mrs. Bradford, survival, any kind of survival? Percentage-wise, less than ten percent. Meaningful survival? Less than five percent.”

It took that whole holy night, that long labyrinth-like passage we spent wandering together through our minds and hearts, to come to terms with what this meant. And though “come to terms” would take not just one night but months and months into years of long nights of the soul, we did in fact feel a gradual enveloping. Enveloping. That is the best word I can find to describe it. Slowly, coming from all around us, Randall and I noted a sturdy-ing, something that stabilized us, that settled us down into deep assurance.

After walking outside of the emergency room past the landing pad where the very helicopter stood that had brought our son there only hours earlier, under the stars and the moon that seemed to hold their breath with us in terror, and after speaking aloud to God and to Parker, we made that walk back into his room.

There was such a weight of reverence in that room that the space itself felt denser and more illuminated than the hallway. Walking through the doorway was like moving through a plasma membrane. We brought all the waiting family and friends––you can call them shepherds, wise men and wise women, midwives––into Parker’s small room and gathered around the edge of his bed.

I was not consciously thinking of angelic choirs and had no spirit for “Glorias in Excelsis Deos.” But, in that stillness and through a ton of ruins that was my soul, my voice broke through. It shocked me. It pushed through without plan or my permission. In the shimmering stillness I began singing, “I know that my Redeemer lives . . . ” And by the end of that phrase, the whole room joined in. Heaven floated down, encompassing us like a great, weightless, sky-blue silk curtain.

And we––a normal, not-really-holy-at-all family, with a hospital room for a manger, nurses for midwives, and unseen angels for a chorus––stood there, encircling Parker’s form. And we sang harmony with angels. We sang to this child, we sang to heaven. We sang and sang. Souls sliced open, we sang our Parker into the next life. Then that sky-blue silk curtain wrapped us in silence.

We removed life support. His lungs released a final sigh of this earth’s air. And as his head tipped gracefully to one side, the earth fell off its axis and began spinning strangely, drunkenly, into unchartable and inaccessible regions out of which only a God can escape, or from which only a God can rescue.

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Now. … Why do I do this to myself, sharing all of that with you? And of all times, why now? Isn’t it Merry Christmas? Why such a mournfully tragic story for our Christmas message? Or you might ask, How, Melissa, can you even talk about this? Don’t you want to forget it? Wipe it out of your memory forever? Talk about lighter stuff? Tinsel? Jingle-jingle? Ding-dong? What happened to Jolly Old Saint Nick? Rudolph? Frosty … ?

That First Christmas after we buried our Parker, I had no energy for a jingle, or a single, thumb-sized decoration. No energy to face the boxes of baubles and mementos Parker had helped me pack away while we laughed and joked so casually, so carelessly, just twelve months earlier. I couldn’t for the life of me generate enough energy to face Christmas at all.

As I considered the birth of the Christ child, the heralded grandeur, the coming of the King with glory roundabout and shepherds sore afraid and young innocent wide-eyed Mary cradling him, her splendid firstborn, I wanted to wail at the top of my lungs, “But you will lose him, Mary! You. Will. Lose. Him!!”

Because, you see, that birth in Bethlehem is inextricably linked to Gethsemane. The straw upon which Christ lay in a manger points to the cross from which he would hang. The infant cry that his father Joseph heard echoes forward to his adult cry that his Father Elohim heard, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Indeed, wrote Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

“You can’t separate Bethlehem from Gethsemane or the hasty flight into Egypt from the slow journey to the summit of Calvary. It’s of one piece. It is a single plan. It considers ‘the fall and rising again of many in Israel,’ but always in that order. Christmas is joyful not because it is a season or decade or lifetime without pain or privation, but precisely because life does hold those moments for us. And that baby, my son, my own beloved and Only Begotten Son in the flesh, born ‘away in a manger, [with] no crib for his bed,” makes all the difference in the world, all the difference in time and eternity, all the difference everywhere, worlds without number, a lot farther than your eye can see.”

––”Shepherds, Why This Jubilee?” p.68

…Yes, I now knew something on a bone-deep level. Mary lost him. We will lose things. That is true. There are no guarantees that the person sitting next to us right now will be there tomorrow, or even the next hour, the next breath. No guarantees that what might lend our life much of its security and satisfaction in this moment will remain beyond today.

But what is guaranteed, and what is truer than Saint Nick, Rudolph, and Frosty is that, because of that Holy Family and that Firstborn Son no loss is designed or destined to be permanent. Because of His birth with its in-born death, because of Bethlehem that foreshadowed Gethsemane, because of the cave-like manger that links to the garden tomb ––because of Him, all of our individual and collective long nights of the soul are taken into account and born up with His rising.

But more than that, they are taken into the outstretched arms of an infinitely compassionate Savior whose love and mercy far surpass any and all mortal losses, any and all degrees of grief, any and every horrible holy night.

I believe that the Son so loved us that He descended from heaven to heaviness to meet every one of us in the dark and hollow places of our lives, our souls. And God so loved the world that he offered His Son, a sacrifice that transforms mortality with all its perils and deficits into the gift of immortality and life in His presence.

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O Holy Night. Your holy night. No, I never, ever want to forget mine. In fact, I think of our holy night every day. I think of it because I long to be there where I saw Things As They Really Are. And how are they, really? In the isolation and darkness of such a night you see and sense what is hardly visible or palpable in broad daylight. Somewhere there, as you wait on the Lord––as you lie flat, motionless, arms wrapped over your shredded heart, holding your breath or weeping aloud––you feel the hint and muted hum of light reverberating within your soul, a vibration coming from a source nearby. Of course, it was there all along, that lucent presence, that light-that-shineth-in-darkness. But you couldn’t comprehend it. In your agony and desperate disorientation, you couldn’t comprehend it.

In silence, in retreat, in your necessary entombment, your soul gradually reorients itself and, with a slow turn, you see the source of that soft vibration. You realize He was seated next to you in that darkness, quietly waiting, His eyes mellow and steadying, His hands resting calmly on your head, emitting real heat.

There, touched by God’s incandescent grace, a grave is transformed into a bed of rebirth. Your cold body is warmed to new life. Noiselessly, He stands. And you, drawn by ardor, follow as He rolls away the stone with an outstretched finger. Just one glance, and you understand that He is asking that you reenter the world with its sometimes-blinding sunlight and frequent neon facsimiles. He is asking that you follow Him from death to a new life, which you gratefully give back to Him.

So once again—raising us from either grave sin, grave sorrow, or from the grave itself—Christ has conquered death.

And that, my sisters, brothers, and friends everywhere, is true joy to the world.

54 thoughts on “My Christmas Sermon, given December 2014, in Frankfurt, Germany

  1. Oh, Melissa…no words. Only tears and gratitude for this most beautiful Christmas message.
    Love to you, dear friend,
    Geri

  2. Beautiful testimony of birth and death The true reason we celebrate both Christmas and Easter .Thank you for your gift of expression to explain through your Gesthsemane Heavenly Father gift to us.

  3. I heard my Holly say aloud as she read this tonight. . Awww this is so beautifully written! She was most accurate in her assessment as I echo her same sentiment! True joy is found at the Beginning, middle and end of the twisted and gnarled paths we walk in this life because of Him. This gives me a new perspective to think about this Christmas season. . . The “Stable” being a metaphor for the stabilization of our lives because He lives and He died for each one of us. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
    Danielle

    • Oh, that makes me truly happy. I love your family, your Holly (who’s so perfectly named for this symbol-rich season), and I’ve learned from your comment here. “Stable” and the stabilizing center of my life. Will I ever forget that? Never.

      Forever bonded–

      Melissa

  4. Melissa… one more connection between us… that glorious painting hangs over our piano. Thank you so much for the beautifully and thought-provokingly written meaning you have given it. Joy to you this season!

  5. I have loved this painting for a long time, and I will never look at it the same way again. Thank you for sharing your holiest of nights, at this time of year especially. Looking forward to reading more of your blog and books.
    All the best to you and yours!

  6. I saw this painting on the upper floor of the JFS building (near the English Department at BYU) as I walked to my Norwegian final Wednesday (two days ago). I didn’t have time to stop and take it all in, but it struck me deeply and it’s been on my mind ever since. Thank you for this rich tour of this image, the truths it represents, and the beauty of the meaning of Christmas. I am crafting ten minutes worth of thoughts for this Sunday and I am inspired by your thoughts, not to mention stirred by that which you have experienced and that which you continue to learn/teach. Thank you.

    • Maren- My friend, you are always welcome. I’ve learned from harsh blows, but also from listening to the quiet currents that seem to wash almost imperceptibly over the sand bars of my thoughts. It might be interesting for you to know that I learned a lot just writing this address, since I’d thought of–and written in part –– several other addresses on the theme of “The Meaning of Christmas” before I decided on this one. I scrapped them all. Then this came in a strong, unbroken current. I’m grateful I listened.

  7. A friend (Luisa Perkins) led me here. You cannot know what this is for me. But with all of me, I thank you. I thank you. I thank you. I thank you. God bless your magnificent soul. Thank you for this gift. Holiest of Nights to you and yours.

  8. Name the angels, if you can,
    Who sang the Christ Child’s birth to man.

    Adam Michael led them all
    To praise salvation from the Fall.

    Noah Gabriel rejoiced,
    The Spirit Prison’s freedom voiced.

    Moses, giver of the Law,
    Its true fulfillment sang with awe.

    Elijah, binding Heaven and Earth,
    Announced the Son of God’s rude birth.

    And in their midst
    Were You and I–
    Our voices joined in the great, glad cry!

    –(c) Raymond Takashi Swenson

  9. I am sitting here typing words, then backspacing over them and re-typing others. I almost left your site without leaving a comment–because I am weeping, because I am speechless, because this is an undeserved gift from someone I have only known by name. Thank you. Your openness, honesty, and beautiful words are a gift that all should unwrap this season.

    • Kylie- Sigh of relief and thanks that you kept typing and didn’t leave behind a trail of silence. But had we two been together, sitting in a room in the late evening, maybe, with snow on the tree branches outside the window and candles breathing their blue-white flames, had we been sitting and reading this story aloud to each other and talking a few more hours about things I didn’t share in print, I think silence would have been our shared response.

      Thank you so much.

  10. M- utterly beautiful. Tears and tears. Thank you. In all of our constant strain lately, I have been having a difficult time linking into that divinity. I have felt it, have known it. But in all the strife and worry, it is hard to do so now. This was like a completed circuit for my spirit, tonight, which I desperately needed. Than you for telling true things, well. – HB

    • HB: Linking into that divinity isn’t automatic for me, either, and even now, after all these experiences, I feel the circuitry broken at times, I feel the holy receding a bit behind the world’s (and my soul’s) metallic din. I’m grateful for every chance to write things like this that speak from places below the noise, from my quieter marrow.–M.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. I too lost our son 19 months ago. As CPR was performed I felt that heavenly host in the room and looked to the ceiling crying out to my son and God. Our loss can be our gain with wisdom beyond our understanding. This was beautiful and thank you again for sharing.

    • Maxine-Chills cover my shoulders and race down my spine and legs as I read this from you. My sorrow at your loss is sharp and real. I grieve with you the loss of your precious child. And with you I also stand firm, knowing we can gain wisdom beyond anything we knew either possible or necessary.Sacred days ahead…

  12. My son was killed in an accident in 2009 a week before he would have received his mission call. I’ve felt what Mary felt just six months later when I found out he hadn’t died instantly like we were told. That is the most alone I have ever felt and I thought of Mary then. However I have had such an outpouring of the Spirit touch me in the same ways you have written about. My husband and I have had a real hard time with this time of year, but the true meaning of Christmas always lifts us up. Thanks for putting into words what I’ve experienced as well. GOD BLESS YOU.

    • Jennifer–Ah, brutal. Brutal. Sometimes, even now, I need to restrain myself from returning to my imagined depiction of our son’s accident. The pain of physical torture as well as unanswered questions can make me lightheaded,even ill. I train myself to think of the invisible gathering that certainly took place above and around the accident scene. And it becomes peaceful and even clarifying. I can understand that it’s painful at Christmas time, and some years out. Is that partly because your community, even many close family and friends, have usually (sadly) forgotten that your son is missing? he is not mentioned? He is not re-membered? I understand. It is painful. God bless you, too…

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  14. I have not hung a single Christmas decoration because my heart sorrows, and I have not the will to rejoice in the season. But your words brought me a balm of clarity. Thank you Melissa for your wisdom, warmth, and willingness to share. It was truly a gift I desperately needed.

    • Kayna–I understand this too well. Christ was a man acquainted with grief. Becoming acquainted with grief ourselves is a prerequisite to becoming truly acquainted with Him. I’m grateful my passage with grief can be of help to you. Thank you for coming here.

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  16. Melissa; This was beautifully written. A friend of mine shared it on Facebook. Isn’t it such a small world that a friend of mine would find this passage written by you, another friend. Love you so much.
    Trisa

  17. Thank you for sharing this. Wish I could have heard it in person. My son Ransom is in the Frankfurt mission as of this month. It’s amazing how fast the time has gone by since we saw you in Paris. Merry Christmas Much love from Greg and Mary Ann Wilde.

  18. This is so beautiful. Our sweet Tucker, was born on Christmas Day 1999. July of this year, we got a phone call much like yours, “come as quickly as you can, there’s been an accident……” Braxton (our son just 11 months older) made it out of the water. Tucker, hadn’t surfaced. They were hours away, staying with my brother for a week. As quickly as I absorbed this information, I began to slide down the wall I was leaning against. I wasn’t to the floor before I felt the air around me thicken…..it was thick enough to hold my position at a crouch. I thought maybe my husband had steadied me except he was still standing across the room. At the same time, I can’t accurately describe it, it wasn’t a voice but, it was more than just a feeling or a sense. Distinctly, I understood that Tucker was safe, and everything was ok. I stood slowly, gathered our 5 other children quickly explained the situation and had a family prayer. My husband left with my brother, driving to the reservoir. As I spoke with another brother on the phone, a ‘Breaking News’ message interrupted the TV program no one was watching. “Search and rescue underway…..” I watched as helicopters hovered, divers in the water, as I let panic begin to creep in, the calm overwhelmed me again, the song ‘How Great Thou Art’ was being sung in my mind. Tuckers physical body was recovered almost two hours after he went under the water.

    I didn’t intend to ramble on about our experience except, I wondered how I would feel about Christmas this year. Our first Christmas without our boy. We should be celebrating because it’s Christmas, not mourning. But, I AM mourning??!! Do I still bake his birthday cake? Will the other children feel cheated if I’m not myself? Know what? That same beautiful feeling/knowledge washed over me anytime I started to spiral downward…….”Tucker’s safe, everything’s ok” Our holiday was quieter, more reflective and that was ok. I’m so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me, who supplements all my needs.

    Thank you for this incredible post. For choosing to share something that could be just yours but, benefits so many.

    • Emiko- I’m honored by your sincerity and openness, not to mention the beauty of your story and time invested in coming here and sharing so gracefully. What I feel most strongly, though, is pain, that hollowed-out feeling that, for both you and for me, apparently, grew side-by-side with the “air [thickening] around me.” Both the excavation and the filling are sensations I can understand, and I relive them in my flesh as I read your words.

      And of course, of course, you’re mourning. Only the first Christmas? Your loss happened just a moment ago, then. Grief is a long, long while. Which is ok. It’s right and human and healthy to bleed tears and limp and crawl when you’ve been amputated. All will be made right, and in the meantime, we learn and love all we can. I can tell you’re doing just that.

      Blessing in this new year, Emiko.

  19. So sacred and beautiful. Thank you! I lost my 25 year old son 2 years ago. I too feel joy because of the gift our savior has given us. Your story gave me such peace. Peg

    • Peg–Two years. No time at all. I remember at 2 years I was just barely beginning to get some of my energy back and felt finally like the world wasn’t off orbit. It’s such a long rebirth after such a blow, but I hope for you that you are regenerating, slowly, gently, peacefully. Much warmth as another year brings you a step closer to that sweet son of yours…

  20. Hello there… you don’t know me, but I have about 50 pages left to read in your memoir and am hosting a book club on it on Jan. 6. I didn’t realize you lived in Frankfurt until a dinner guest told me tonight, and told me how to find your blog, so I thought I would check it out. Anyway, I live in Stuttgart and have three young kiddos… your experiences in your book have hit close to home (both the living abroad and the loss of a loved one). I especially loved your descriptions of France since I served my mission there. Shopping for the navy shoes with different colored trim and the exasperation of the saleswoman over the choice of brown velcro shoes was spot on. Made me laugh like crazy. As did many other passages regarding French culture.

    • Marinda- I’m eager to get back to you before your book club on January 6th. (I’ve been away from my blog during the holidays.) Thank you for coming here and commenting so kindly. I wish I could get to Stuttgart and be with you for that evening. Wouldn’t that be fun? Short of that, I could Skype in, or I can at least take questions from your group’s members and respond personally to each of them, something I love to do and have done frequently. Let’s please keep in touch about it.–Melissa

  21. Dear Melissa, I have been hoping for a post and then this appeared, this beautiful, sorrowful, meaningful message. I am grateful for your gifts and your willingness to give.
    My sister-in-law died three years ago, at age 15, in a sudden accident. Your words have many times helped me to cope with that reality. She left behind her twin sister, and my heart aches for her. I long for ways to meaningfully connect, discuss, to remember our sister, to know her still. Thank you for writing, at this time of the year and in sacred relation to our Savior. Thank you Melissa.

    • Emily, It’s a blessing on all sides when the softness of the Spirit seeps into any of us by whatever means. If the vehicle is this address I gave about the experiences we’ve had, then all I can feel is grateful. I’m strengthened by it, too. Sharing and testifying of truths we’ve learned brings a clarifying and rejuvenating energy to me. I’ve tracked it. It’s consistent, and it’s an important component of my own “absorption” process.

      To connect meaningfully and remember your sister-in-law is deeply human and ultimately godly thing you’re asked to do. My experience has taught me that listening — to those burdened with grief, to your own intuitive nudges — might be the most important component to mourning. I wish you wisdom and sensitivity as you do that.

      And peace in the new year…

  22. Paula Carter All I am capable of saying is Wow! I love the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven. Thank you for such insight. May the Lord be with us all, as we travel this life with the unexpected heartaches and joys.

  23. Thank you for your beautiful and true words. It resonated in my soul. I had a similar hospital experience and you put it so well into words. I too lost my 18 year old daughter unexpectedly last year and two weeks ago my grandson was born and passed on Christmas Eve.
    My friend recommended your book “Global Mom” and she loaned me “On Loss and Living Onward”. I look forward to reading those.
    Thank you for sharing such deep, heartfelt and spiritual experiences.

    • And I have to just hang my head in sorrow for you. Two untimely losses in 24 months…One your child; one your child’s child. My shoulders hunch, and I suck in all the air my lungs can hold as I imagine what this has been like. There’s no way through this pain but entering it–spinning, dark, disorienting, and threatening as it is for so, so long. And underneath the battle, there’s a thrumming reassurance that you are upheld. How else does someone with your loss stay standing, if not upheld?

      I think you’ll find validation and hope and even a glint of joy in “On Loss and Living Onward.” And for “Global Mom”, I know you’ll see the sharp contrast between the Mom from the first half, before tragedy, and the Mom from after. You’ve been at the Zero Point. You’ll feel how even the weight of the pages changes as you turn them.

      With courage and solidarity. We all go on.

      • Thank you for your timely and thoughtful insights and empathy. I take it to heart from an individual that too has walked through the shadows of death and resurfaced a better person. I know I will relate and enjoy Global Mom as my husband was Air Force for 23 years and we traveled and moved frequently. I also have 7 children so I will relate on that note as well. Heidigreenwood.com is about my daughter that was 18 that passed.
        Thank you again and I love the inspiration and insight you have chosen to share. You have such a gift for expressing such deap and profound feelings I have felt but lack the words. Thanks.

  24. Paige-

    Moving countries is one thing; moving to the planet of grief is entirely another. And you know both. I sorrow with you about your daughter, and share my hope—chiseled out of the bedrock of my being—that all will be made right. not necessarily here, and not now, but somewhere and in timelessness. I know that is a truth we can hang our lives on. And I want to thank you for mentioning the writing itself. Expressing these ideas is like releasing something painful but restorative into the bright air. So touched that it means something to you.

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