Cynthia L. Eppley 12/21/2022
The Longest Night
The first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is marked by the winter solstice,
which occurs on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, at 4:48 P.M. EST. The winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year, making it the “shortest day” of the year.
It is fitting, is it not, that in the cold of winter, the darkest night should come now? When we associate darkness with gloom and sadness? Sometimes, comfort if you have a warm blanket and hot cocoa.
But more often, our thoughts go to those we have loved and lost, or the loss of health, or our own deep loneliness.
For this reason, Oreland Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Oreland, PA invites you:
Loss of a Child
The Loss of a child is excruciating.
“As the holidays draw near, many feel sorrow approaching in lockstep with joy. The same storm that brings much-needed rain to the fields also threatens to wash out the picnic and the parade. And just so, as the Christmas season comes, many feel the rush that comes with giving gifts and enjoying feasts and marking celebrations, but at the same time the ache that comes when they hang fewer stockings than in years past, when they set fewer places round the table, when they see a face missing from the family photographs. Though they truly do celebrate, there is bitter mixed with their sweet, dark shadows that temper their light.” https://www.challies.com/articles/christmas-bitter-and-christmas-sweet/ Dec 20, 2021
Loss of a Baby
The loss of a child is often considered to be the most painful, wrenching experience a person can have. The loss of an infant may be sudden and shocking or follow many months of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) visits.
It means the loss of dreams for the baby’s future. Parents may feel they were robbed of time to get to know their child. Friends and family may never have met the child.
Tiny Hezekiah died on 01/05/2021, only 16 days of age. Born 12/20/2020.
Mom Emily is posting what happened 2 yr ago; reflecting on his short but so loved life.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
In today’s society, in the cycle of human development, it is normal and natural to lose your parents when you yourself are an adult.
The death of parents is the single most common form of bereavement for adults. Depending on their ages and on yours, death is usually more or less expected.
Losing the person from whom these feelings came will deprive you of someone who loves you in a very intense and unique way.
“Oh, the love of a mother! A love that none can forget!” (Mother’s Day, 1971)
And from a friend: “You know, 30 years is a long time to go without having your mom in your life and I sometimes think what life would have been like with her in it. It’s hard not to think about how that loss has been carried with me through all the seasons of my life.”
My mother wore the scent of “White Shoulders.” Cleaning out her closet, I caught its sweet aroma as I crushed the dresses to my face. It will always be entwined with my mother
“I want them to know that grief isn’t meant to be covered up with a fake smile, but instead it’s meant to be talked about with a laugh or a good cry. I want them to know that grief isn’t a bad word or a scary word, it’s just another way of saying that some of the best grandmas live in heaven.” (herviewfromhome.com)
Often, the death of a sibling is overlooked. While the needs of the immediate family are addressed, the sibling stands by.
It should be remembered that this is a significant loss for a sibling, and they are dealing with their own deep grief or mourning.
“The death of a beloved is an amputation.” C. S. Lewis, ‘A Grief Observed’ “A sibling is the lens through which you see your childhood.” Ann Hood
In a real sense other loss strikes us deeply.
The loss of health. How many have received a critical diagnosis that will affect their lives and their future?
Covid and the Pandemic certainly affected so many of us.
A parent has just been diagnosed with caner. Our minds reel with the implications of it all.
The loss of employment can feel like surgically removing a part of our lives.
The loss of a dear companion: namely, our pet.
The “Rainbow Bridge” is a euphemism for this deep pain associated with the loss of our friend.
What to do?
Remember their loved one
John Pavlovitz writes, “…I want you to know that someone understands that you too have famous people who you’ve lost; legendary, monumental, household names whose passing changed your personal history irrevocably. For you their death has been more earth-shattering and path-altering than any celebrated singer or politician or humanitarian or athlete. They were the peerless superstars of your story and I know how hard it is to be without them, how much it hurts to grieve them, how much you wish the world knew of their greatness and goodness…”
One very tangible way to comfort your friend is to give them an item that “covers them” with loving thoughts. Buy a blanket, the coziest throw you can find and write a note that says something like, “Praying that you will feel the love and comfort of God and friends surrounding you.”
Bring “comfort” food: cookies, breads, a meal. It is the thought that counts. Send a thoughtful card, expressing your love and concern.
Acknowledge their Loss
Acknowledge that your friend may still feel grief, even years after their loved one’s death. To remember their dear one is to signify their living and significance.
There are so many losses that we remember.
Seek out help and comfort from others.
Join us tonight for our remembrance of the hard things in our lives. Be comforted in your longest night.