25 Dec my favorite gifts
Merry Christmas, friends. I hope you woke up feeling fresh & frisky today, ready for a fun filled day of prezzies and family and food and laughter. My favorite holiday of the year is Christmas. I love it so much! I get wiggly and antsy like a child. I adore watching people open gifts, and I especially love thinking about the perfect gift for each person. I don’t often get that part right, but I do spend time thinking and carefully selecting. It’s the thought that counts, right? I am particularly joyful on Christmas, and am often overcome with memories of previous years with special people. I realize not everyone feels the same about Christmas (as evidenced by the nasty scowls on faces, the snarky remarks people make to each other, the bad driving, the bah humbug posts… sigh… if only they could see Christmas through my eyes.)
2013 has been the worst year of my entire life: too emotional, too traumatic, too devastating. My heart has been shredded, and continues to bleed as the days pass. Apparently there is no band-aid big enough for the wound created when my son left this world. He ripped me in half. Part of me died, but part still lives. I’m not convinced it was a 50/50 split either. I ache for one more minute with him, one more Christmas, one more anything… I ache for moments that will never come again. At the same time all those aches and emotions swirl within me, I am still required to function. I work. I play. I laugh. I travel. I still live, even when the innermost parts of me wish I could just stop.
I’m spending Christmas in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with my family, Sis & Bos. They are like a salve for my soul and I love being around them. We solve the world’s problems over coffee each morning, we debate the proper way to parallel park (Bos just hasn’t mastered it yet…), we go to the grocery store almost every day like it’s a special event, and we laugh our heads off at the most ridiculous things. I love how we can tease each other without the sting of malice, and when we are together it is like no time has passed. I’m thrilled to be here for Christmas, and feel panicky when I think about leaving. I don’t want to leave. I just want to be where I feel whole. Right now, that is here.
I spent Christmas eve on the beach, by myself. I stared out at the ocean and soaked up some much needed sunshine. And I thought, “I could cry for all I have lost this year, mourn for what could have been, crave the greener grass in someone else’s yard, wish for a different life or a better this or a kinder that… Or I can revel in all that is mine, today, and choose to be thankful for this journey, however difficult & tragic & beautiful. I can choose to forget greener grass and appreciate the white sand. I can close my eyes and savor precious memories and open my eyes to flirt with an unknown future. I choose to be here, I choose to be present & thankful, I choose to be joyful. I choose MY life, THIS life, exactly as it is. I am growing and learning every single day and at the end, I will hardly recognize the girl I once was. It is Christmas eve and I am one step closer to Paradise.”
Ironically, I am discovering a new version of myself since Mason’s death and I like this version so much more than the last. After my heart was unexpectedly ripped open, I discovered I have an increased capacity for love. The pulverized, bloody mass formerly known as my heart just leaks all over people now, and I am stunned at my ability to love so much more deeply than I ever have before. Do we have to experience such tragedy in order to learn how to fully love? I wonder.
So. Christmas. Presents are fun, and I received two very wonderful prezzies from Sis & Bos this morning. Lovely, thoughtful presents. For the blog, though, I thought I’d share some gifts I have received throughout the last 6 months… gifts, not presents. Treasures actually. Here are some messages sent to me in various ways that I read and re-read when I need to, and I am always encouraged by them. These are my favorite gifts. These messages (and sooooooooooo many others) help me get through the next minute, and the next, and the next. I treasure the kind words of friends, known and unknown. Words can heal. Words can help. Words can’t be wrapped in Christmas paper or topped with a bow, but sometimes they are more beautiful than any gift under the tree. Hope you understand what I mean after you read a few messages I’ve received. Thank you… please keep sending them. They do wonders for my soul. Xoxoxox
Messages… Gifts… Treasures…
“Holly- wow! I read everything in your whole entire blog. I was home alone and decided to check it out… I read a lot and it was definitely overwhelming. I cried so much just thinking about it… trying to stay strong… I read your ‘confessions’ post and just cried my eyes out. All the memories came back in my mind of Mason, seeing him at school and sharing the memories we had. I sat there and thought it was worth every tear. Mason would be such a proud son to see that his mom would do so much for him. I love you very, very much! If u ever need to get your feelings out, I’m always here. I know I’m young but I had my cousin pass away because of the same cause. It’s okay to admit you’re not okay and if you’re a mess. No one should EVER have to go through what you’re going through. I’m going to keep reading your blog. It brightens my day, even though I cried a lot thinking back at things and the memories. Thank you for everything. I know you’re always here.”
“Just read your blog…have a lump in my throat and could do the ugly cry and feel like I could never stop. I’m not even Mason’s mom and I could do that… how must you feel? That is what goes through my mind. Everything you typed is what has been rolling in my head for you. This is the pain and work of grief that you must process and move through… how long will that be? Who knows… but, I do pray for you. God will take his putty and fill those cracks and gaps that were left when Mason left this world. He will.”
“Holly is a Vegas girl too, and she happens to love glitter just as much as I do. She gets it. Glitter fixes things. It helps people. It heals the world. It makes people happier. If you’re not from Vegas, you might not know that, but it’s true. In fact, she wrote on her blog recently that it’s her desire for people to know so much that they matter that she would be willing to drive down the streets of Vegas and throw construction paper hearts and GLITTER out the windows so that folks would know that they matter. It’s important. You know why? Because people do desperate things sometimes when they don’t know. Holly and I have a lot of love for the people in this world and, this is no exaggeration, oceans of love for each other. And right now Holly needs glitter in large doses. So, I sent her some. In the mail. I sent it. I can’t imagine what her house looks like because, I’m not kidding you, I sent her a ton. She must be swimming in it. I sent it to her because I love her and because her life is changed forever and I can hardly breathe to see her like this because she can’t breathe and sometimes, when you know there’s nothing… literally nothing you can do to alleviate her pain… well, there’s always glitter. I know she is shattered. I hold her in my heart. Her glitter is all over my life, and that’s okay because I love her and I’m always going to be here for her. I just want her to know that she matters. To me. She matters. And she still sparkles much of the time and she’s shiny and she fixes things and she helps people and she heals the world and she makes people happier.”
“I want a time machine so I can blast you past the holidays. I want to wrap your Mason up into life and give him back to you. I want our God to hold you and SHOW you that you will be with Mason again. I want some magic formula to make your pain go away. I weep for you, I really do. All I can do is keep praying, believing and hoping for you. Anytime, you call me. Anytime. I know you have a lot of friends, but, I have good listening skills I have been told. XO”
“You are so right I or most of us can’t imagine to feel or understand the depths of your pain. Physical pain and that ache that nothing seems to touch. I’m glad that you understand that it’s not that we aren’t trying to be caring and empathetic, it’s just literally impossible for anyone to truly get it.. I love that u write so beautifully. And this life changing down and out, in bed for years, change of route, somewhat torturous life u now have to try and live… What u speak and write so beautifully… your feelings in words that physically so tenderly touch my heart,”
“What you said tonight about thinking that you will still be reliving this pain for the next 30-40 years tore me up. My favorite promise in the Bible is in Joel 2:25 ‘I will restore to you the years the locusts ate away.’ This pain will not last forever. You will always love Mason and you will never forget him and you will even be with him again one day…but one day the grieving will end. God makes you this promise and I know you trust Him.”
“You don’t know me but over the last year or so I have read the blogs that our mutual friends have shared and my heart aches for your loss. I peak in on your FB page every once in a while and have read several of your blogs and I just feel compelled to say how absolutely phenomenal I think you are…. In your grief and broken heart, you have helped and healed so many…You work through your son’s spirit and heart and the two of you are angels to many…”
“I just read your blog. I am so far removed from this, as it is yours, but know how much if affects each of us, how much I think of you, how you encourage me to get through things. I have found myself saying “if Holly can do this…then I can get through _____.”
“Hi, Holly. I was just thinking about you and about how much I enjoyed seeing your getaway pictures. You’re a-mase-ing and gorgeous all at the same time! I’m certain that this next month or so is going to be extraordinarily challenging for you. You’ll be in my prayers. I’m thankful that you share your whole heart and pain with those of us who have no reason to complain… it forces me to find gratitude in a way I didn’t before YOUR journey. May our sweet Lord bless you.”
“Thank you so much for the link to your project. We will read it all. What a wonderful thing to set up and build. We are so pleased to hear you are going back to work. It will fill your days and keep your mind busy for at least some of the time. Try and fill the rest with happy memories of Mason. We have both been so moved by you and your life.”
“Thinking of you today Holly…I wanted to say good luck–but it’s not really luck you need. It’s strength and courage–I wish all the worlds strength to you today. Just be yourself. That’s it. And spend time recognizing how hard it is and how far you’you’ve come. Have you seen the movie ‘Gravity” – it made me think of you. Ah well. It’s just the struggle that reminded me of what you must be going through. Like no one to really talk to about it because no one really understands…and then having to make the choice to survive. Anyway … Miss u xx”
“I haven’t told anyone this but I have had many dreams of Mason and in each dream, he talks about how much he loves you and misses you and how he’s so sorry. And he talks about how he wishes to see you again. I know that he would want you to be happy on this special day and he’d want it to kick ass!! Lol. But anyways, I really hope that your birthday was or is special and I hope you made the best of it!! I love you! You’re an inspiration to me and my family! Please stay strong!”
“We have watched, like bystanders observing a car accident, your pain and tragic loss, shrinking from our own powerlessness to do anything. I have read every blog post, forcing myself to enter into your pain because it matters, because as much as it is just you, you and I are still a part of Him. I know this sounds lame and you are wondering who the hell is this person anyway but in complete sincerity, your pain matters to me, to us. Thank you for your honesty, your messiness, your anger, it is powerful, and freeing because it is truth. If you ever just need to escape, to be still and not prodded or probed, you are welcome to stay with us. Our home has become a sort of island for misfit toys and it is both a blessing and honor to open our doors and love on the people Jesus loves. Anyways, I know you have a group of people loving and hugging you so know you are being loved and hugged from here.”
“I know most people do woman crush Wednesday, but this is more of an ‘I’m inspired by this woman Wednesday. ‘ Holly is not only incredibly beautiful, but she’s also one of the strongest women I know. I read through her posts on Facebook and her blogs and always sit back and think, ‘Wow. She is so incredibly strong.’ Every time things get a little rough for me, I think of how strong Holly has been through all the things that have happened to her in the past 7 months and remember that it’s okay to be strong and to keep going because the outcome is worth it. I don’t know. I just really love Holly and she inspires me to be a stronger woman. Love you HollyGurl!”
“Wanna know how I see you through my eyes sweet Holly? I see you like a burst of sunshine in my day, everyday! It is the truth though. Really it is. I can have a really bad day and something you have posted has made my day too many times to count. Your spirit is infectious. It really is.”
Merry Christmas. Thank you for the gift of friendship, love, and your beautiful words of encouragement. xoxox