No matter what your political affiliations are, I think if you watched any moments of President Bush's funeral, you were impacted. Watching someone who has lived a full life, and is so adored by his family and friends, and to see that genuine love and sadness poured out - not for show, but because its real - so publicly is impactful. Grief gets me. Funerals get me. Genuine heartache gets me. My own mortality gets me. It make me introspective about my own life, and our greatest loss - Koen. In this season where our schedule is so jam packed, to do lists so long, I am reminded of what truly matters. Its not the stuff, its not the over the top, its the not the money spent, its not the food (well, it kind of is) - its being there. Engaging, face to face conversations and love shared, kids playing together, laughter, snuggling, and making those memories. One day, that is all my kids will be left with. Not Pinterest decor or styled outfits, but memories of just me spending time with them, speaking to their lives, laughing with them, faith instilled in their lives. My desire is to live with the values that this amazing man did (and you won't see me in the White House, so I am not referencing anything political, but him at his core). With integrity, kindness, a love for Christ that just showed and wasn't preached, the perseverance to go on and embrace love and life more each day - even after burying a child, to lead with love, to be an uplifting friend, not harbor bitterness, and to love my spouse and kids above all else on this earth. His death has left me sad, but so inspired to focus on what truly matters.
Koen is buried 2 hours from our current home. A few weeks ago we went for the weekend to visit with friends, and I packed my family with all the things for the weekend. While driving, I remember I had forgotten to pack for Koen ... his Christmas trees that I leave at his graveside each year were left waiting in the garage. Mom guilt at another level, instantly washed over me. As I prepare for Christmas with my two earthly angels, I only had one thing to do for my heavenly angel, and I had forgotten. God, and his grace swept in and lifted my self-inflicted burden. I had just driven past a roadside stand selling grave blankets, it took me 15 minutes to decide, because really how do you make it all better with pine bows and decorations? But bringing Christmas to Koen in a small way, does help my grief. His forgotten trees, are not for him. This grave blanket that snuggles him in, is not for him. Its for me. And because of the snafu, I got to take it to him by myself. I have not been alone at his grave in years. I got to be with just him, and my guttural grief and tell him how much I love and miss him. And that is what matters. Koen continues to teach me, and remind me about what is important, what matters, in this life.
Merry Christmas my dear friends. Focus on what really matters in the weeks ahead. Its not the stuff, not your to do lists - its your presence, your loved ones, and gift of our savior.