because it’s christmas

I struggled to find joy in the aftermath of tragedy. I mean, I smiled. I laughed. But, that deep down no one can take it away from me kind of joy had been hiding for a while. I knew it was still in me, somewhere. I tried to unearth it, to dig it out from under grief and the black of loss. I remembered its steadfastness, how joy brought hope with it and longed to see its face again. I needed it and thought please, let it come to me.

I knew how to survive, to fight and win. I endured surgery after surgery and each battle that followed. I knew how to clamp down, grit my teeth and do my best. It was the emptiness afterward curled in the pit of my stomach that scared me the most. It attacked me with a ferocity that took my breath away. I didn’t know what lay ahead and ‘what now’ scratched at my mind, relentless in its bleakness.

One evening Scott and I were at my parents’ home having been given the day off from the rehabilitation center, which had become home for me. I was shivering not from cold, but from this emptiness that was present at every turn reassuring me of my hard-earned existence and my aloneness in it. I whispered to anyone, anything, “Does it ever get better?”

Scott answered, “I think it’s going to be love that will get you through.”

I didn’t know what I was looking for. A booming voice from the heavens giving me the answers to a cure, promises of rainbows and happily ever afters. Love wasn’t good enough. Love was mocking in its inadequacy.

“Love?”

“Love.”

How could he be so sure? I felt bottomless in my need. Nothing could fill me up. Love would sink like a stone and be lost.

How could he be so sure?

I turned it over in my palm. I weighed it against everything that I knew. I looked hard at love and gave it a chance.

It didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t fast, but love did its work freeing joy, releasing her to me. Love wasn’t limited to one source. Love came from everywhere. From a father who finally told me he loved me, from a nurse holding my hand when I couldn’t hold in my tears, from a friend that pulled up a chair next to my hospital bed, from a physiotherapist that was firm in her belief, “You can do this” and held me to it, from a stranger telling me I was beautiful when in this world I knew I was not, from a boy I just met, and from myself – to not give up, to guard the light I had trusting it would grow greater than the emptiness that threatened me, to know that hope, joy, and love were always and would continue to be mine.

for old time’s sake

Swept Up

Merry Christmas!

15 thoughts on “because it’s christmas

  1. bernthis

    you are one of the strongest people I know. I have become that person I always wished I could be, it's taken a lot of years and gallons of tears but I'm finally the me I've always dreamed of being

    xoxoxo

  2. Dorkys Ramos

    Oh Merry Christmas to you too, Heidi! Now that you've found love and joy, embrace them. Your children are absolute hams, by the way! Love them 🙂

    And I had missed your swept up bits!

  3. you gotta wonder

    You are beautiful. And you are providing a powerful witness to the truths of love and joy. Merry Christmas!

  4. Linda Sue

    Happy season…whatever this is now…I think it is a great time, in the middle of the dark, cold winter to make happiness happen.Appreciation of good neighbors and friends and family…little gifts from the oven…staying cosy and maybe even dressing up a bit. Happy whatever, dear Heidi- I am really enjoying your writing.

  5. erinlo

    Once again, I am moved to tears, by your words and the feeling behind them. I hope that this Christmas you feel an overwhelming love and the peace and joy that come with it!

    I was wondering, how long ago was your accident?

    Also, your children are adorable.I love those colorful scarves!

  6. kendalee

    Heidi, this makes me think of that old cliché about love conquering all – I wish I could think of something more original but I guess clichés become clichés because they are true. Wishing you an abundance of love this Christmas and always! And looking forward to the continuing unfolding of your special story in 2010… Thank you for your kindness and warm words, as ever K xx

  7. Christy

    What a beautiful post! And beautiful children! I hope you had a wonderful holiday Heidi and I LOVE the return of Swept Up!!!

  8. Suz Broughton

    Wonderful, Heidi!
    You are just getting better as you're getting braver and more open.
    I hope you had a great Christmas! I love the picture of the kids!
    Suz
    PS your Word Verification for this post is "raise." Isn't that ironic?

  9. Intense Guy

    A beautiful post by a beautiful person.

    …and love shines in the eyes of those two children of yours…

    I hope you had Merry Christmas Heidi and that the year 2010 brings you lots of love and hope.

  10. Shelley E

    I just recently started reading your blog and I love it! You are so inspiring! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

    Thank you for writing your story.

  11. dawn

    an incredible journey that you have had and will continue to have because of the beauty that is you….

    heidi, i wish you a new year filled with wonder, joy, love, happiness, light and beauty. thank you for your words of inspiration and beauty. happiest of new years to you, friend. xo

  12. tiff(threeringcircus)

    Heidi,
    I'm just catching up. Oh my, I have cried my way through a couple of hours.

    You are amazing.

    I hope you keep taking ownership, I hope you keep writing this down.

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