To all of my Surviving Families:
I just wanted to let you know I am thinking and praying for all of you. The holidays are such a difficult time when you have an empty seat at your table.
There is no perfect formula to get through the holidays without tears or remembering your hero who isn’t there to celebrate with you. I wish I could tell you to do A, B, and then C and your pain will be gone, but grief is unique to each individual.
Things do change as you walk further in time from the date of death. This will be my 8th Christmas without my son, my hero, my mighty warrior, Marc. Yet I can’t tell you there is a pattern for Year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,or 7. They have all been different and some easier than others, but there is no rhyme or reason.
I will share a few of the things that I have found help. Making a list of my blessings, helping and serving others, exercising or going for a walk, accepting Marc’s challenge in his last letter home to do random acts of kindness, snuggling with my grandkids, and remembering Marc’s funny antics.
I did put up my beautiful red, white and blue patriotic Christmas tree. I did get my Christmas shopping done, barely, for my immediate family. I didn’t send Christmas cards or make a Christmas video. I did bake Christmas cookies with my Grandkids. I’ve been a widow for 19 years so grief is complicated by being alone and I have shed many tears this year.
As a Christian this is one of the most important times of the year to me as I celebrate the birth of Jesus who was born to sacrifice His life for you and I so we could be with Him forever.
I don’t have to explain to you what sacrifice means, our families have an intimate understanding of this, that we would have never wanted to know.
God promises to be a husband and defender of the widow and a father to the fatherless. During the early days of grief, after my husband died 19 years ago, my kids would hear me quote that scripture reminding them and myself that He was in control.
My children would often come to me for answers and wisdom and often times I didn’t have a reply for them. Since God promised to be their “Father” I would tell them to “Go ask your Daddy.” They knew that meant to be seeking his wisdom by going to the Bible or praying asking for the answers.
It was no surprise what Marc did with his final heroic actions, he followed in his “Daddys” footsteps. Marc laid down his life for our freedoms in America, Christ laid down his life for our eternal freedoms, free from the consequences of our sins.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t have emotions, or feel pain, sorrow and grief. Grief is a process and we have to walk through it, it just means we are not alone.
Today has already been a difficult day and I am working on making that choice to focus on the blessings in my life and asking God to strengthen me. I’ve been thinking of so many of you knowing that you are struggling as well.
While I wish the reason that we knew each other wasn’t because we shared the loss of our loved one, I am blessed to know you and get a glimpse of your fallen hero. I will never forget your loved one who has paid for the freedoms I enjoy everyday.
I am always here for you and would love to remind you to come visit the Heroes Hope Home in Arizona where you will receive some love, pampering and hope. We are working on raising funds to cover the travel expenses but at this time we are just covering the week while you are at the HHH.
The night Marc died God led me to Psalms 27 and I have memorized this and have drawn much strength from this and will be reminding myself of this today. I pray it will encourage you as well.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
4 One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Celebrating a Savior, remembering your hero and praying you will feel His comfort and strength today.