Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Survival Plan

Christmas is upon us. Never before have I needed to have a survival plan to get through it. Sure, the holiday has for many years been a stressful time. There is always the stress of shopping, and trying to create the right balance of what the holiday is supposed to mean, rather that what it has become. In my own experience the busy part of the holiday preparation usually ended today. By tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, I have always been able to stop the madness, and slow my family down so as to truly enjoy each other's company. In the past I have pulled out all the stops. There was the wonderful feast of a meal, fresh baked cookies that we had decorated, hot cider warming of the stove, and delightful music in the background.

So it is with this year, our year of sorrow, that I brace for the heaviness of thought and feeling. In years past I would light our "fireplace," which in reality is just a collection of candles that provide the soft glow that helps me set the right mood in our home. This year the candles have become votives, which I light each night next to the urn which holds my beloved Michael's ashes. The glow of the candles hold my ever vigil, which is to remind me of the light that Michael's love provides me during this time of darkness. The warmth of the light sets my heart as ease as it gently caresses his urn.

Tonight I gaze upon all of this with love in my heart. My game plan has changed as of late. Listening to my heart I have heard Michael speaking clearly. This is his time to take care of me. I have been taking care of Michael for the past two years. It was a joy to be his caregiver, and an honor to help him prepare for his departure from this world. Now is his time to take care of me. The most difficult part of living through this grief has been that the person I needed to help me through this is the person I grieve for. Why else would I grieve so, and who else would I turn to? Well, in time I am coming to understand that I need to give him a chance to take care of me. And with Michael's quiet way, I need to slow down, and listen for his voice.

Michael loves me. He chose to spend the rest of his life with me. I'm just now understanding that. I know there are many painful days ahead, but there are also many opportunities to let him do the caregiving. Tonight he has brought me peace. Tonight I feel his love more than ever. I am blessed by his love.

Look what I just found.
I love him so much.


  1. Dan, my wish for you and your children tomorrow is for you to have peace, warm memories, love in your home and some laughter amongst the tears. Merry Christmas, Boo xx

  2. Good reflections on self-care and allowing our loved one's to care for us back. I need to think about this and as to how I might apply that to my own life.

    Your "fireplace" sounds wonderful and very healing.

    You couldn't have found a more perfect photo of Michael!