Story by Eunice Loecher
My husband had been dead less than two weeks. Each time a wave of grief washed over me, the words, “Celebrate The Gift,” came with it. This continued for three days. I felt as though God was shouting those words over and over again in my ear, victoriously, triumphantly. “Celebrate The Gift!”
Immediately, my mind would be flooded with wonderful memories, memories that replaced the numbing sorrow. My husband had truly been God’s gift to me. Over thirty years of incredible memories. “Celebrate The Gift!”
This happened the week before Easter. I began to realize, God had a deeper message for my heart. The questions came. Had I ever really mourned the suffering and death of Christ? Have I grieved for His lost days, weeks and years? Time that could have been filled with miracles and great teachings.
My answer, “No.” Each Easter I simply celebrated the Gift, God’s promise of eternal life, a promise of resurrection. These are the gifts that bring peace to my pain and hope to my heart, gifts that I cling to.
I continue each day to celebrate the many gifts God brings into my life. The wonderful relationship evolving between my eighty-nine year old mother and myself. We spend time together each day, first as mother and daughter and now as friends. We share the common experience of widowhood. All these parts bind us together in a unique way.
The gift of time with my mother has allowed me to learn many new things about her family. I treasure the stories and share them with my grandchildren. My grandmother lived past her hundred and first birthday.
As a young woman she sang opera. The stories of Mom’s love for dancing. A cherished family history.
The gifts that come with tragedy bind our hearts together. My youngest daughter took a leave of absence from her job while her father was ill. She came willingly to help me care for him at home during his final weeks. Emotionally and physically it would have been beyond my strength to care for him alone. A bond of understanding exists because of what we endured together. We are able to celebrate this special gift of love we shared for a husband and father.
My gifts come quietly in sunrises and sunsets. Occasionally they are a mixture of joy and sadness as with my grandson’s first birthday. My husband and father lived to celebrate his birth but neither of them lived to celebrate his first birthday. The gifts surprise with the joy they bring as I witness my grandson’s first steps, or the day my granddaughter lost her first tooth.
Most precious of all, the whispered promise, “Celebrate the Gift.” Now, one day at a time, I’m learning to do just that.
“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (KJV)