Hope You’re Rockin’ Around ~ the Christmas tree

J's Biker Jacket

In the new old fashioned way.

When I got up to feed the strays it was 40 degrees in Jacksonville (with a feels like of 38). That’s when Floridians start thinking of wintering in the Caribbean. It had dropped to the mid 30s overnight. It was cold and damp…a breeze coming off the Atlantic and up the St. John’s River. I’m closer to the river than the beach.

I had been meaning to give my late husband Joseph’s biker jacket to Goodwill since I only wore it once last year. That was right before Christmas, when I went to see Deck the Chairs in Jacksonville Beach with my daughter Victoria and Lynn Woods Rix writing as Dalyn Woods. It was cold that night This year, I wanted to let someone get some use out of the jacket, but Joseph had loved it even though he didn’t have a Harley, not even a motor scooter. It made him feel a little like James Dean. I must confess, when I wear it some of that James Dean spirit rubs off on me too. There’s just something about a well-worn, broken in biker jacket.

Joseph passed away on December 8th three years ago. I’m seeing a lot of memes about how to treat a person who is mourning at Christmas. Should you bring up the loved one who is gone? Should you tip-toe around it? If you care for your loved one who is in mourning, they will know you care. You might say the wrong thing. If you’re a believer, you might say, “He/she’s in heaven with Jesus,” when all your loved one wants is for them to be back here, even for a moment. We all say the wrong thing in situations like this. Your loved one knows that. Your loved one has also said the wrong things. It means you’re human.

So, what should you do? What should you say at Christmas to a loved one who’s heart is aching (and mourning goes on for years)? Say, “I love you lots.” Call them, tweet them, private message them, email them, send them cute, light-hearted memes, send them a Christmas card. For a person in mourning, the hours can creep slowly by, feeling empty. Fill some of that empty space up…in a gentle, gentle way saying “I love you.” “I’m thinking of you.” Don’t pressure them to be part of the holly-jolly spirit of Christmas, but leave the door open to them if they’d like to join in. You might be surprised. They might have no place to celebrate and would love to be part of your Christmas.

…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

JDC Xmas 2013-3
Joseph, Christmas morning 2012, before coffee
JDC Waldorf Astoria-Boca
Boca Raton, vacay 2011

6 thoughts on “Hope You’re Rockin’ Around ~ the Christmas tree

  1. Thanks for your poignant post. It’s always hard to know what to say and since I’ve been on the other side of losing a loved one, actually more than one, Christmas is bitter-sweet as I remember Christmases past. Wishing you a lovely Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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    1. Pat, I’ve been seeing “spiritual” memes almost yelling at people telling them what to do and what not to do around the bereaved at Christmas. Most adult who have lost a loved one understand that it’s hard for people to know what to say, especially at Christmas. I think it’s always best to keep it as simple as possible. “I love you.” “Take good care of yourself.” Give a hug. These go a long way.

      I find myself having memories flood back as Christmas approaches. I find when I listen to Joyce Meyer, I can keep it all in perspective. But Christmas has always been good to me. Even the year Joseph died. It was as though the ‘Spirit of Christmas,” who to me is Jesus, wrapped His arms around me. I found Christmas carols, decorations comforting.

      Have a great Christmas and a wonderful new year.

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    2. Beautiful post, my friend. Keep the jacket. It looks great on you. And you never know when the South will forget her manners and plunge us into freezing temperatures for days. LOL! Love and appreciate you, Nike! Take care of yourself. Sending hugs your way! 💗💗💗

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      1. Gail, I’m having a wonderful Christmas. Christmas has always been good to me. The year Joseph died, three weeks later was Christmas. My house was already decorated. I don’t think I would’ve been able to decorate. I put the tree lights on in the evening, played carols, and it was as if Jesus wrapped me in his arms. It was that way last year too and now this year the same. While, it’s painful without the one who is gone, Christmas is not painful for me.

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  2. Naomi Musch

    Lovely post, Nike. Thank you for sharing your heart. I will remember this. Bless you, my friend, and you ARE rocking that bomber jacket.

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    1. Naomi, A writer in the ACFW critique group that I lead passed on Dec 5. She was not only a crit partner, in NY she’d become a friend. She had an accomplished career with a large computer firm. She was in leadership with the Long Island RWA group and ran their annual luncheon for 10 years at a fancy country club. What a bash. She spent a week with me before Christmas two years ago here in FL and last year 5 days before Christmas. She was in remission. She was healthy except for the cancer, then her husband divorced her 9 mos ago. I think he’s already remarried. He took care of the burial. They had no children. No obit, didn’t comment on her FB page. Nothing. It was as if she’d never existed. So, in part, this was to state once again for my spouse that Joseph D. Chillemi existed. He was a good person with accomplishments. I notified the RWA group, and I posted on Beth’s FB page and in the ACFW NE Zone writers group we both belonged to.

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