Black Friday – this day has taken on an entirely new meaning for me. Yesterday our family celebrated the perfect Thanksgiving – my sister-in-law prepared a delicious meal and all of us gathered together in her warm and lovely home. My grandbabies were so adorable I had to pinch myself to believe they were really mine, and my older grandson looked so handsome and grown up. It was a day that will live in my memory as one of the very best!
I arrived home early in the evening, and proceeded to begin my Christmas decorating – treasuring the memories as I unpacked each ornament – my St. Nicholas collection, my tiny birds, and my tree decorations so lovingly chosen through the years. By bedtime, my home was transformed.
This morning my daughter and daughters-in-law hurried out to enjoy the Black Friday sales, and I had a bit of time with my sons and grandbabies. It began as a totally relaxing and enjoyable morning.
However, within a few moments in time, our Friday indeed turned “Black”. My son’s best friend, a “son of the heart” to me, lost his father to suicide. A sudden death is always a shock and heartbreak, but this was especially painful, both because of the tragic circumstances, and because this family has also lost two beloved grandmothers within the past two years.
When we are fortunate enough in life to share close bonds of friendship and love, we also share the deep sorrows that go along with these bonds. My son is grieving tonight for a man who treated him like a son, and my daughter grieves for this “almost brother” who has lost his father. I grieve for the intense agony of this entire family, who, through the years, has become so dear to me. And, as we always do in these situations, I wonder if there was anything I could have done at any point to help this troubled man.
Last year on this same day, Black Friday, my daughter lost an “almost brother” in a tragic motor vehicle accident – his sisters were her best friends, and even though an entire year had passed, in her heart today she was also reliving that tremendous loss. Tonight I want to hold my daughter and comfort her for both of these terrible losses in her young life – and yet I know this is not a pain I can “kiss away.”
Unfortunately, there are so many times in life when there is nothing we can do, other than to be close by – to listen and reassure, to give hugs and hold hands, and to cry and grieve along with those we love -- and to place our troubled hearts into the gentle hands of God.
It will also be a long time, I’m sure, before my daughter and I will be able to look forward to Thanksgiving without worrying about the day after, which has over the past two years become our virtual “Black Friday”.