Monday, December 26, 2011

Bittersweet Holiday

Mama with Dennis and Steve, about 1955.
Dennis (left) is the youngest of six children.

Mama Netz, about 1975, in a church kitchen.
It has not been a good December, dear friends of the blog. My husband's mother died on December 6. She would have been 95 in January.

Mama Netz had a long, full life, and she went to an eternal home with her Heavenly Father. Knowing those things, we still mourn the loss of our mother. I call her "our" mother, because she adopted me into her family about 33 years ago, and she was my only mother for 14 years after my own mother died.

Having family responsibilities, Dennis went to Kansas City in his own car, and I drove up with the kids. After the funeral, we stayed a night with my sister in southern Missouri. The next day, we drove a nostalgic route through the Ozarks on our way home -- a route we drove many times on our trips to visit the grandparents in years past.

Taurus, Keely, and Isaac at a high spot
near Alley Spring, Missouri
where I've photographed my children
many times over the years.
When I went back to work after my absence, I jumped into the last frenzied weeks of the Christmas retail season. The endless hours of serving (and cleaning up after) the shoppers seemed a pointless trial. When I wasn't at my job, I pushed myself through the motions of creating a traditional holiday for my family. Between work and home, I became quite exhausted and even caught a cold.

On Christmas Eve (after my co-workers and I finally got out of the store), I attended a service in a church I've never visited before. I thought that singing Christmas carols might lift my spirits, but oddly enough, the congregation sang only one song in the whole service -- "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear." Still, it had a verse that seemed written especially for me:

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
      Who toil along the climbing way
      With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
      O rest beside the weary road,
      And hear the angels sing!

The view from our hotel window
in Independence, Missouri
Yesterday, Isaac, Keely, Taurus, and one of their friends spent the day here at the house with us. We ate too much and enjoyed a long session of gift-opening. We survived the opening of a final Christmas package from Mama Netz -- one last gift of needlework for everyone. Keely addressed my Christmas cards for me, and I'm hoping that I will finish and mail them sometime this week or next.

Late in the evening on this second day of Christmas, resting here by the road and listening to the angels sing, I feel less sorry for myself. This has been one of life's valleys, but I am climbing out of it. I must encourage my husband to climb out, too -- carry him out, if I have to!

I do assure you that the blog will soon resume. Meanwhile, I send all my best wishes to you and yours for the the remaining days of Christmas and for the New Year.


Collagemama said...

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your dear Mama.

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your dear Mama. You are all in my prayers and thoughts.
I know that no words can ease the pain, for only time can heal such a wound. But as you said, rest in the comfort that she is with The Lord in her Heavenly home forever...and oneday you will all meet again. ((hugs))

Michael Leddy said...

Genevieve, we've never met, but I send my sympathy to your family on your loss.

Elaine said...

I would like to add my condolences. Christmas, to me, is a time for memories, and each holiday season seems to have some mark that we remember and weave into the story of all the Christmases our family has shared.

I appreciated reading about your feelings and wish a healing New Year for you.

Genevieve said...

Thank you so much, everyone.

John Ruberry said...

Add my condolences as well, Genevieve.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.