One of my best friends happens to be a fairly famous singer/songwriter/artist. We listen to Catherine’s work every Christmas, her holiday album “North Star” is so gorgeous and the music with original arrangements and original songs blended with classics gets us every time.
I have been reflecting on 2016 and what a crazy year it’s been! I’m a bit of an eternal the glass-is-half-full person, and I decided to reflect on the joy that little boy has brought us being parents. With all the other sadness the world has seen, I am grateful for a season of joy I’ve experienced. But even with this joy, I’d feel so egocentric if that’s all I ever say and ever share on this space. I love to share the positive and the happy highlights of our life, but every now and then I feel the need to share some deeper feelings of my heart, and this Christmas it’s particularly strong!
The same day I was thinking this, I pulled up Catherine Papworth’s song “This Year”, an original composition she wrote after a really rough year during the recession where she had seen so many lose so much, so many unable to find works, so many unable to move forward towards goals and dreams, and where she personally felt like nothing had gone her way. I started to tear up listening to this song in my kitchen, thinking of all those around me who are mourning. The friend who lost her sweet five-month-old in his sleep early this month, the friend who had a child try to commit suicide, the friend with a young child in the hospital wondering if they’d be well enough to come home for Christmas, the friend who just lost their job, the friend spending Christmas across the country at a fertility clinic hoping this time they get a baby, the friend going through a divorce and spending their first holiday alone, and the friend of a friend whose wife and baby were suddenly killed in a car accident leaving him alone without his family for Christmas. I just ugly cried looking out my kitchen window feeling the pain of so many this holiday season while Catherine belted out the beautiful words of this song
“This Year/ we started out with higher hopes this year/but how were we supposed to know/when we stepped out on this road/ we’d end up with broken bones this year.”
But as the song progresses talking about the battle of the year, and the hardships, it moves on to decide to let go of this year and to just carry these pains in your heart, but then it merges with my favorite Christmas song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” where she reminds everyone in the midst of terrible trials and pain, Christmas is the time to “let your heart be light” and “next year all our troubles will be out of sight” as the song does. I can’t say it enough, it’s beautiful. It’s so heart-rending. And it captures the emotions of so many I know who are struggling.
If you’d like to see the most touching music video she made, I’m going to embed it here:
As I watched this depicting the scene of parents without a child, I flashed back to two years ago. Two days before Christmas my mom begged me to go shopping with her because she didn’t have anything for me for Christmas and she kept asking me what I wanted. I honestly had nothing anyone could purchase from a store that I even wanted, and as she took me shopping I had a complete breakdown in front of a Nordstrom Rack where I told her “I just want a baby!”
I had just gone through a fertility treatment that was supposed to work. The stars were aligned, and we had every reason to believe for the first time it was absolutely going to take. I had an elaborate plan to tell Jacob with a gift Christmas morning that after so many years of infertility we were going to be parents. I had found out three days before Christmas it hadn’t worked, and even though I’d heard this so many times before, my heart was as heavy as it’s ever been that Christmas.
I thought back to eight years ago when my then husband had fallen prey to his addictions and as I uncovered cheating and so many lies, he up and abandoned me within an hour of the discovery. I never wanted to get divorced, and even though I consider him leaving me the greatest blessing of my life and my freedom from so much abuse, it was right around Christmas time and I was left so shattered and feeling completely heartbroken and alone at Christmas while I was forced to file for divorce alone and accept he wasn’t coming back.
So friends, sorry for a heavy post for Christmas, but as I know I will be social sharing the magic of a baby and how much joy I anticipate we’ll see with this amazing experience, I want to reach out to any who are feeling heavy. Oh the heaviness I’ve experienced in Christmases past! I know the holidays can bring an immense amount of overwhelm and a reminder of pain. And to those of you there, I wish I could come give you a hug. It’s so hard to see so many so happy, or at least seem so happy, and feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Life has a funny way of better times manifesting themselves, and I hope for any in a sad moment you find some hope, and there’s a moment where you get to focus on some joy and “let your heart be light”, even if only for a moment.
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