As I began to walk along the pier last night, holding your urn and the last of your physical body in my arms- I felt removed, far off, in another world.
As weird as this may sound but as I walked by myself down the long strip of wood, holding you in my arms- all I could picture was me, in a white dress, walking with flowers in my hand, staring at you at the end of the pier.
As I got closer and closer to the crowd of people standing at the end of the pier, I was quickly snapped back into reality. This isn’t a wedding, I’m not a bride, and you aren’t standing there.
My heart began to race knowing what we were about to do.
As we made our way to the end of the pier- the flashbacks hit me.
As I purposely tried to avoid standing in that exact spot, somehow, and by no coincidence I believe, I ended up there.
My feet planted in the exact spot where you stood in front of me, kissed me, rubbed my arms because it was cold and said,
“I have to tell you something.”
“I know this is fast, I know you’re hesitant, and I hope this doesn’t scare you.. because you don’t scare me.. but, I want you to know I am in this for the long haul, I’m not going anywhere Emily, and I really believe that one day, I will marry you, so, because I’m actually in this for the long haul- will you be my girlfriend?”
As I stared at him, thinking how weird it is that those words don’t scare me, I said yes.
I said yes to two incredible years of giving you my heart. I said yes to two incredible years of arguing with you, laughing with and at you, sometimes hating you, falling in love with you, growing, and learning with you.
That night, December 26, 2012- I gave my heart to you and I watched you, day after day after day- protect it, bruise it, repair it, and shape it.
I stood there last night thinking of all we went through in two years. I stood there replaying that night in my head. I stared at the beach imaging it all exactly as it happened.
I saw us walk back off the pier, hand in hand. I saw you looking at me and saying, “Let’s not take the stairs, let’s jump off- I can catch you.”
I saw us for the first time of many times, being crazy and stupid in love.
I imagined us walking down the pier, you stopping, looking at me, and saying, “Emily, you’re my girlfriend!”.
I remembered that sweet smile and look on your face as I said, “I know!” and you picked me up, kissed me, and spun me in a circle.
I remembered how it felt, every single piece of it.
As your dad lifted your urn, gave an incredible speech, and poured some of your ashes into a jar for me, I couldn’t believe what was going on. How could the arms, the body, every piece of you that once help me, in this exact spot, be so different, so strange, so unreal.
As I began to feel the pain shoot into my chest and my knees got weak- I was so confused and so lost and I broke down, hard.
For awhile, all I could do was stare at the beach where we once walked, hand in hand, where we spent many sunny days tanning and hanging out with friends, where everything started.
As everyone left and I stayed behind, my heart felt like it was broken into one million pieces. How on earth could I be sitting here, where it all began and where it seemed to be all ending? How can this happen? How does this even make sense God?
As I cried and cried and cried, I began to feel this strange overwhelming feeling and sensation of thankfulness- and let me tell you, it was not something I wanted to be feeling at that time.
I was so thankful for the love I have with Chad, for the family I know have because three years ago we made it official, for Charleston Hope and the thousands of people that have heard your story, for the friends I have that have carried me through the year.
I sat there and I cried in pain and I cried in thankfulness for a God who came down to one day save us from this pain, this heartache, and this unreal confusion of life. I sat there, feeling a deeper understanding of the days to come and the importance of the days to come.
I’ve read some incredible things the past few days and months in preparing for the Holidays without your loved one and one of the absolute most beautiful and real things I’ve heard- is that it is okay not to be okay.
You see, all of those thousands of years ago, God sent His son into a broken, imperfect, and cruel world. And to us, imperfect people, Christmas is a day of giving and family and love but often times it is so unintentionally overlooked, that is, the real meaning of Christmas.
Sometimes I wonder if God lost His son the day Christ was born or the day He died on the cross?
We hear all the time that Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth, and of course it absolutely it is. It is a celebration of the Savior of the world being born to one day save the nations and rid them of this painful life.
But as I read somewhere, I often times wonder if Christmas was also a time of mourning and sadness. Here is a beautiful excerpt from a ministry post that I read.
“I wonder if Mary wished her mother were there to help her deliver her new baby. I wonder if she was saddened at her station in life. Did she wish that she had more to give her new son than a birth in a manger?
I wonder if she mourned the absence of her friends. Did she feel alone? Lost in a big world that seemed not to see her? I wonder if Christmas day — the day Mary delivered her baby — was a day of mourning, too.”
Wow, this goes so much deeper then not being okay on Christmas. This is as deep as Mary, the woman who gave birth to Jesus, and God, the King of Kings- could have been mourning on this day too.
That is mind blowing and powerful stuff. The Bible says that God feels our pain, he mourns with us, and he aches with us. I wonder if God was mourning as Jesus was born and placed into a sinful world that one day- God would have to watch His one and only Son be nailed to a cross, have thorns shoved into His head, and be beaten almost to death. I wonder how God felt on Christmas day thousands and thousands of years ago.
And Mary, I love what it says above, I wonder if she really did mourn. We know she was most likely in pain as she gave birth to a child, The Child, because of her human body. I wonder if she mourned for the destiny she knew her son would one day have. I wonder if she mourned because she felt as though she didn’t have enough to give the Savior of the World?
To me, this year, I have begun to understand a different side of Christmas. A side of Christmas that is beautiful yet heartbreaking. A side of Christmas where pain is real and pain is prominent. A side where joy is standing in front of me and the choice to choose it is more difficult then ever.
I don’t know what or who you may be mourning this year, during the Holidays. Maybe it is a loved one who is no longer here, maybe it is a divorce, a husband or child overseas, children grown up and out of the house, the loss of a friendship, or simply feeling alone.
Maybe this Christmas is far different for you than any Christmas has ever been, and maybe that hurts. Maybe your pain right now is hard to look past, hard to see the beauty in it, and hard to see past the now and into the future.
I know your pain is heavy, fierce, breath taking, and consuming. I also know that you are hopeful, and full of love. I know this because if you didn’t love deep, care a lot, or hope- you wouldn’t be in this much pain.
You need to know that no matter what your pain is, no matter what you are mourning, no matter how alone you feel- you are okay and you are not alone.
As your pain becomes consuming over the next few days or even the next few months or years, know that Christmas will one day mean more to you than many. Know that you will one day hopefully see the beauty in Christmas far deeper than anyone else.
My prayer is that today, this Christmas, you, wherever you are in life, whatever stage you are in life- will see Christmas much deeper and in such a more powerful way than you do now.
Because Christmas is a day that hope was born, grace was born, forgiveness was born, greatness was born, and healing was born.
Christmas is a day where mourning occurred and mourning was already in existence, but Christmas- that’s a day that changed our world and our lives forever, especially for us broken people.
Christmas is a day that mourning was given the opportunity to turn into joy, into beauty, into something powerful, and into meaning. It’s a day where hope was born into the world in a physical presence- a presence we will one day see again.
Christmas, for us that are broken or have been broken, and for those that will be broken one day- is a day that gave us and our pain meaning. It is the day that gives us all meaning.
Christmas is the day where our pain and sin and death began its road to freedom, to victory, and to the cross.
I feel it. I feel this Christmas that all of thousands of years ago, God knew the pain that I, Emily Irene Hoisington, would have. He knew that one day I would be created and I would walk through this exact life.
I feel it that God sent His Son into this world, into a destiny on earth of pain and crucifiction, to save me. To save you. To save this world.
What an incredible, incredible feeling and truth it is to know that you are so loved, so adored, and so important that God sent His one and only Son into this life to face a pain we will never face, and to save us from this life and from our pain.
That hope that you once had and have lost, it’s still in you, because the love of Jesus is in you- sometimes we’ve just been given a little bit more responsibility to find that hope again. But you can and you will.
What a truth- don’t miss it this Christmas.