Monday, December 28, 2009
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me
It is so hard to believe that two years have already gone by since our last Christmas with Renee. The first picture was taken at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve 2007. That is me with my three beautiful daughters. (Click on it for a better view.) The next picture was taken on the second floor deck of our vacation rental home in Barbados - Christmas 2oo9.
We were going to do a cruise with the family in 2007. That is something Renee really wanted to do, as well as Alayna who both had not been on a cruise. Renee was going to be in the bridal party of a very dear friend who was getting married in the DR and then join us for the cruise starting the day after the 20th of December. After the cruise to the Bahamas we were planning to stay over in Florida at what used to be our company's condo for Christmas. The cruise and flights were booked in the beginning of October. We were really looking forward to this. We wanted so much to believe that Renee was healed, but we had no guarantee that she would not relapse.
Then at the end of October all those plans crashed. Renee had relapsed. Back to MSKCC and more chemo. Renee did not get out of the hospital till just before Christmas. Renee didn't talk about it very much, because it was too hard for her to take, that she could not be at her friend's wedding and it was such a huge disappointment that we could not go on that family cruise.
Then on the 20th of December, which is Kara's birthday, we had the horribly shocking experience of finding out that the family business partnership was no more. It was absolutely excruciating.
And then Renee died...February 26...that huge tsunami blow to our family, creating this huge hole that will always be there, that we are all trying to cope with, each in our own way. Please continue to pray for our family.
I am so glad that we could all go on this trip to Barbados, not a cruise, I think that would have been too painful. Justin managed to get off from work and I think it was very important for us to spend this time together for healing.
I was feeling so overwhelmed with sorrow about doing this trip without Renee, thinking about that family vacation we had planned two years ago that never happened. Ray, Alayna and Kara still went on the cruise and then we had some dear friends who volunteered to take the extra room for which we could not get a refund. They were sent by God to be a support to Ray after that devastating blow he had received the day before the cruise. I don't know what he would have done if they had not been there.
We did have a very special Christmas with Renee in NYC that year except Justin couldn't come. That was the worst Christmas for him.
So the first night of our trip, God gave me a very special dream of Renee which helped me to not feel quite so overwhelmed with sorrow. I did find places and time to be alone to shred some tears. And on Christmas day as the choir at the church we attended, sang such a beautiful rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by a steel orchestra, the tears started flowing as I thought of Renee worshiping in heaven, singing the Hallelujah Chorus with all the angels and all the redeemed. I can't even imagine how beautiful that must be! And the tears came again later when I read an article by Joni E. Tada about Christmas and heaven from the book, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, after we had eaten our family's traditional Christmas breakfast of cheese blintzes with strawberry topping.
It was important to us to do some of our traditional family Christmas things, and yes, you don't need a white Christmas, to make it feel like Christmas! All we really need for the "Christmas spirit" is to worship the One whose birthday we are celebrating.
I found the following poem and it describes my dream very well.
WHEN TOMORROW STARTS WITHOUT ME
When tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,
And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye
For all my life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for,
So much left yet to do,
It almost seemed impossible
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,
He said, "This is eternity,
And all I've promised you.
Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past.
You have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things
You knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven
And now at last you're free.
So won't you come and take my hand
And share my life with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.