Posts from April 2010.

These months later

by steve

Steel yourself. Easter’s here and you remember what happened at Christmas. Holidays are hard. That’s what they say. I have to be ready in case I don’t enjoy the bunnies and candy and egg dying as much. The resurrection might not be as glorious this year. The hymns less triumphant. Wait for it.

<Silence.>

The Easter holiday wasn’t bad. It wasn’t that much worse because Anna wasn’t here. Maybe that’s not true as evidenced by the tears running down my face as as I type those words. Tears that make it hard to breathe and almost impossible to cry out loud. Maybe I didn’t miss her as much as I did at Christmas. Maybe I missed her in a different way. Maybe I didn’t miss her enough last weekend. Maybe it was ok to wait until a few days after the holiday to miss her this time. To break down and sob out loud while home alone. To cry in a way that affirms how much I do … these months later … miss that child. My child. OUR child. That precious, smiley bundle of love that I had already dreamed a life for.

Nora and Henry help every day. They are incredible children (and I am a proud father who, without any doing of my own, is so thankful for their incredible talents, personalities and the joy that they bring to me and the world.) They are a source of inspiration and joy that helps to fill the void that Anna’s life has left. To watch them grow and learn and smile and love and just be … to simply exist, satisfies and fulfills the soul. Concurrently there is a little pang of, “what if Anna …” It’s a quiet voice. A murmur that persists in a very subtle way … usually in the quiet times of life. My answer to that is simple: What if Anna had died in surgery or another way two weeks or two years or two decades later? What if there was blame to be laid that would drive apart our family instead of entwining our hearts and souls even more. There are many dark places that question could lead. What if? What if Anna was meant to be with us a little while. To encourage us and challenge us and help us to grow. To inspire us to be better and then, without suffering, to pass on to a perfect place. A place where we can look forward to being reunited with her.

The hundreds of bulbs that were planted last year the day Anna was interred were all just about to bloom with a few rouge daffodils opening just before Easter Sunday. The spring weather shining down–painting the “before” picture of a hundred flowers blooming … as Jenn planned … for Anna. Welcoming her memory to the season she was born into. This is Easter wasn’t so bad. Not because I’m pain free and “over it.” But because the resurrection, the triumph over the grave will allow me to someday join my Anna angel again. That’s what the words “He is risen!” meant to me this Easter.

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Deep in the night on Christmas eve

I had grand ideas to go back and organize my thoughts, notes and memories into blog entries that would be chronological with the intent to show any progression that might have been there. I’ve been meaning to upload something since February but haven’t gone back even to that point. Instead, I’ll simply publish them as I re-finish them. -steve

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_our_angel

Twas the morning of Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring but my iTunes and mouse. I wrote the following thoughts, blurred by tears, in the first hours of Christmas morning after attending and singing at the midnight mass. Finding the Christmas spirit and cheer was difficult our first Christmas after losing Anna.

Christmas wasn’t right this year. I couldn’t get into the mood or find that merry groove. Something weighed on me … especially today. “They” say that holidays are the hardest times but I was feeling good about Anna being in heaven, a better, perfect place. I thought I would be ok. Today I overreacted and yelled at Nora. I spoke harshly to some strangers who were talking during church. I didn’t want anything to do with the material side of christmas. Gifts were purchased and wrapped but without the joy of that Christmas should bring. Yes, I miss my baby and I found a little blackness in my heart. I can feel the tears inside me waiting for the right time to surface. I don’t like it but the time hasn’t been right to cry. I’m planning Anna’s concert or I have to sing soon or something. Music moves me more than anything … it always has. It could simply be an amazing moment singing a masterwork or being moved by a text, a performance or a memory. Music is powerful, delivering any emotion. More recently it could be “Abide with Me” or another hymn or anthem … especially those we sang at Anna’s funeral or interment that will suddenly close the throat and squeeze the tears suddenly and unexpectedly. We miss her. I miss her. And some music will always be, and others music will become, associated with her. 

_Jenns_childhood_angelWell, tonight I found Christmas in a song I had the privilege to sing at church. The church was packed and I was worried about my cold and the making sure I had the right notes and whatever. In the moments before I sang I decided to “just sing the song” … not focusing on vocal technique or “breathing in the right places.” So I sang it. And it went OK and I felt a peace come over me as we all shared that moment in the darkness of Christmas eve. And as I sang the refrain each time … Christmas finally came to me. Not in the form of MY child but as the child in Bethlehem. “Oh come let us adore Him.” I was so focused on my loss, on MY baby that I didn’t leave room in the inn for the baby in the manger, who came to redeem us all. That babe who was born only to die so that he could welcome our Anna to heaven, with the heavenly host–praising God with song. Oh come let us adore him. Just imagine that heavenly host appearing to the shepherds. Imagine them now … singing still … only now he’s not in swaddling clothes but instead triumphantly holding my Anna as they look down on our Christmas celebration. Oh Little Town of Bethlehem… Joy to the World … Hark the Herald Angels Sing … Oh Come Let Us Adore Him. Oh come let us adore him–Christ the Lord. It’s not the presents that make it Christmas it’s the chance at new birth. A time of new beginning as we remember a gift given that inspires us to decorate our homes, businesses and towns and to spread cheer with a smile or a gift.

Christmas to me is a tree with lights, the people that you love and some Christmas cheer shared with friends and strangers alike. Usually it only takes a few Christmas songs to fill me with Christmas cheer. This year it came quietly through a song deep in the night on Christmas eve.

BlurryTree

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