I shed tears. I wish I could use the excuse “because of the hectic holiday season”, but that’s not the case.
Near my home is a cemetery located on both sides of the road. I would have to keep my eyes fixed straight ahead of me in an effort to not look at either one as I pass by, but of course I look and I notice them and I start to cry. Them meaning, the family and/or friends, sometimes groups, sometimes standing alone, with heads bowed, hands buried deep in pockets, and eyes fixed on the headstone engraved with a familiar name. The final piece of a loved one they can see. A balloon tied to the headstone indicates a birthday remembrance and a Christmas wreath celebrates the current season. Large group gatherings with flowers tell me it is the first anniversary of their death. Each time I see people at the gravesite, one person is bent over pulling out overgrown grass or a creeping weed from the headstone; tidying up the space and fidgeting to hide emotion.
As I pass by, I begin to cry not only because I am an empath, but also because I have been there at my father’s gravesite, hands buried deep in my pockets, and head bowed looking at the tombstone bearing his name. The first year without a loved one is a blur and each holiday and life milestone without them is an adjustment. Although I physically see people at the gravesite, they still look lost.
I shared this personal expression of empathy with you today, because as I drive by the cemeteries, my tears quickly turn from sorrow to joy. Soon it will be Christmas. The day Christians have been anticipating; the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. More families will gather finding ways to honor their loved ones and include them in their holiday festivities even if they do so by sharing memories. Because of Jesus, we will be able to see our loved ones again in Heaven.
If you are in the midst of the blurred first year after a loved one passed away, know that just that thought can bring me, the empath, to tears. It is normal to grieve, but remember it is okay to have a good time and enjoy the moment with those around you. Your loved one wants you to keep living because they are now living in Heaven.
John 3:16 For God so loved the word that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.