Every year on the first Saturday in December we gather at the Angel of Hope Garden to remember the children that have gone too soon. Regardless of the age of the child, whether a tiny baby or an adult, they are precious children, and their parents have either had bricks or plaques donated in their memory.
My sister’s plaque is among those on the wall behind the Angel of Hope Statue.
We have been gathering in this same place since 2009 when our Angel of Hope statue was erected. The one placed in our town was actually the 100th statue in existence and the only one in South Carolina.
There are so many thoughts, feelings and emotions that go hand in hand with this time of year. When this should be the “most wonderful time of the year,” the truth is that a lot of people are struggling during the holidays. Our family has a hard time because not only is the Angel of Hope Ceremony the first Saturday in December, but my sister’s birthday follows shortly thereafter; December 13th.
When I first learned of the Angel of Hope all of those years ago, I donated money for the plaque as a way to help our family with the grieving process. It is always so hard and heart wrenching to visit the cemetery, and I actually do not like going out there at all. I will, and I have to take flowers or to talk with her, but the truth is that I can talk to my sister any where, not just at the cemetery. In placing the plaque, it has allowed us to have another location to visit with her in the peaceful surroundings of the gardens that have flowers blooming in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, with Christmas decorations and lights in the Winter.
It’s hard facing yet another holiday season without my sister. It’s been several years since we lost her, but the hole in our hearts is still there. We are missing several family members this holiday season from my sister, granddaddy, and now grandma, who passed in that order. It’s just a difficult time of year for a lot of people, yet few will mention anything about it. They just deal with it the best way they can and often in silence without saying anything to any one. My parents and I have that in common, unfortunately.
My sister should be here getting ready to celebrate her 46th birthday, and yet … she’s not. She should be searching high and low for the perfect Christmas present for her daughter, and yet … it just isn’t possible. She left us way too soon, and we miss her a great deal, more than words could ever say.
Go easy this holiday season. If you’re one that is also struggling, we understand, and please know that you are NOT alone. Don’t push yourself to do too much or to force those feelings aside. You have a right to feel as you do, and you are doing the right thing by acknowledging those feelings and being true to yourself.
Go easy with others this holiday season as well. Every one that walks the face of this earth is fighting some kind of battle. We have no way of knowing what another person is going through so we have no right to judge. I will ask, though, that you consider other families, not just that of my own, that are missing loved ones that have gone on before them. It’s a difficult time of the year for so many, and they are in need of your loving kindness, compassion, and prayers.
God knows who you are and what you are struggling with at Christmastime. Reach out to Him, and He will meet you right where you are. Feel Him wrapping His almighty arms around you providing comfort as only He can.
I’ll be praying for you, my friend.