Christmas Eve marked six weeks since Brielle was born. And for Christmas Eve Mt. Paran hosted a candelight service. Curious about this type of service we decided to attend as a family, and David and I decided there really could be no better way to honor Brielle.
I knew it would be hard. I’ve yet to make it inside the church since Brielle died. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I can’t bare to be there without her. She loved church and it breaks my heart to not feel her happy wiggles. Each week I get closer. Last week I made it to the parking lot and then broke down in tears. We went home.
This week I managed a tight smile to the many attendants, a whispered, “Merry Christmas” and I made it all the way through the first song before I couldn’t bare it anymore.
I didn’t leave. As the choir sang a chilling version of “Mary Did You Know” I dug my nails into my palms and bit my tongue. Anything to keep the tears from coming. They came anyway. I am not weepy, I was not raised to be, and it is contrary to who I am. And yet these tears fell out, no sobbing or sniffling, just tears falling before I could feel them build in my eyes.
I tried not to listen, but song after song was about birth and welcoming a newborn. I turned to David and whispered, “this is torture.” He asked if I wanted to leave, but no. My curiosity had lured me here and I was determined to satisfy it.
I endured. I put on the coldest face I could muster and did my best to turn off every emotion that bubbled to the surface.
And the service was beautiful. The music, the organ, everything. Dr. Cooper spoke about reflecting light, specifically Jesus’s light. And I found myself thinking about Brielle and her life, wondering how I could reflect her light, her beauty, without destroying it with controversy.
As the service began to end, candles began to be lit one by one, neighbor to neighbor. The electrical lights were dimmed and candlelight began to fill the room. At this moment I was grateful we were sitting in the back, visualizing the message through a metaphor was deeply moving.
The service was wonderfully tortuous. Beautiful and happy for everyone else and a reminder of everything I’ve lost. I tell myself I’m fine. I delude myself into thinking the pain isn’t that bad, but Christmas has a special way of displaying grief in a horrifically spectacular way. And I’m not sure which is better, delusional or despondent? Regardless, I will hurt for now, but I hold onto the hope that it will get easier. And that’s okay, I’ll eventually be okay. But for now, I need to be sad. I need to grieve Brielle.