A Christmas of Remembrance

A few weekends ago, thousands of people gathered at Arlington to lay wreaths. Despite a strong desire to participate, I stayed away. I am not ready to listen to chatter from other volunteers as I continue to graple with mouring. I am grateful that my visits to Arlington have been at peaceful moments. With family. Without tourists. I am glad that tourists go to pay their respects. But when I am there I want to be able to pay my own.

Sleep has been harder to come by recently. I keep myself busy instead of allowing myself to drift off into dreamland. My dreams this time of year are often filled with wonderful memories of Christmas with family. And although these are still very happy memories. It is hard to look forward to new Christmas memories without the family we have lost. It is hard to know that we will never have another Christmas Eve on Crump Road. Or another meal of sauerbraten or bubble cookies prepared by grandmom. We haven't had these in the past few years, but there is something about death that makes it so final.

Events have occured since my Aunt Mary passed away that would have inspired her to send a card. And instead, my mailbox sat empty. Mary was always the letter writter in the family, and the gift giver. In many ways I get this from her. Unintentionally, I have gone a bit overboard this year, as if to make up for the loss. But it is a void that I will never be able to fill.

And although this time of year and reopened the still fresh wounds of mourning. I am encouraged that we are celebrating in a season of joy and hope with the promise of redemption.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given...
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

My sincerest thank you to all of you who spent time carefully placing these wreaths. From my family and all of the families with loved ones burried at Arlington. Thank you. Thank you to my friends who went and shared the last two pictures. And to my husband who paid our respects when I could not. I am so grateful for the gift of the first three pictures that he captured for me and my family.


  1. Beautiful post, Shannon. I share some of the same pain even though this will be my 11th Christmas without mom. I've probably mentioned before she's buried at ANC and I have never been to see the wreaths (I've only been to her grave a handful of times). It's so hard when traditions change, especially when they're tied to a person. May you take joy in remembering your loved ones this time of year. Hugs!

  2. Beautifully written! May God comfort you and bring you great hope during this season.

  3. Beautiful tribute. This time of year is often hard when remembering the family we've lost. I often think of my grandparents, one who has been gone for a few years and one who is on the verge of being taken to heaven. It's difficult but it's also a time to remember the joy that this season brings--and the promise of being with our loved ones again.

  4. oh, shannon, i can totally relate to this. since loosing my mother-in-law last year (we were like best friends), holidays, especially thanksgiving, are so difficult. i'm not sure they get easier. but as tough as it is, i find peace in knowing that our love was so great to create such a gaping absence. these photos are just so beautiful. xo



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