Ancient History

Follow Me?



In “Meet Me in St. Louis,” Judy Garland sings Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It is perhaps one of the most melancholy Christmas songs ever, although other Christmas songs written during World War II are just as depressing (I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams…)

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
Next year,
All our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will near to us once more

In a year we all will be together
If the fates allow.
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Muddling. Our Christmas will be a fumbling, slapped-together, strained, reminder-ducking affair. We talk of Baby Jesus and Emmanuel, manger scenes and the book of Luke. We speculate whether Christmas will be white, we plan to make sugar cookies sometime this week, we list off last-minute presents to buy and wrap, forgetting they will be forgotten by June.

I got out the things I bought at Target when they had their Christmas clearance last year. I knew I was pregnant (very few others knew) so when I bought cute gingerbread-men-shaped childrens’ placemats, I bought six. I muddled through counting those out and shook my head at how presumptuous I was on December 26th, 2005. I was crazy to think being pregnant actually meant I was going to have a new baby this Christmas. Six gingerbread placemats. Five children. Muddle.

The Christmas cards were another thing to tackle. Usually, our newsletter is fun, somewhat creative, and I am told people look forward to receiving it. This year, it was somber and reflective, as expected. I wrote of my Grandma Mary’s death on December 1st and our pregnancy losses. When we addressed the envelopes and we got to the page with Grandma Mary’s address…you know. Muddle.

My other grandma is home from the hospital, not because she has improved but because she has chosen to die in her bed. I saw her yesterday. Christmas music lilted around the two of us in her bedroom. It was John Denver, singing about having a Blue Christmas. I held her hand. She slept. The Christmas tree she purchased from the Optimist Club stood in her living room, decorated by her not long ago.

In a year we all will be together, if the fates allow. Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.

So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now. Just in case Judy Garland was lying.

20 comments to Muddling

  • I signed my Christmas cards last year, “Steve & Cathy & Sam & Baby #2.” I can’t bring myself to send cards this year. I’m muddling right along with you. {{{hugs}}}

  • hamster

    Here’s hoping that you have a 2006 filled with joy, joy and more joy. You’ve lost enough in 2005.

  • Stacey

    Five years ago, I was muddling through the holidays. Our baby was born still right before Thanksgiving. I remember that was the year that the Grinch movie came out and that song by Faith Hill, “Where are you Christmas” was playing in constant rotation on the radio, and every time I heard that song I would cry and think, yeah, where are you Christmas?

    I feel your pain, Sweetie and you are so in my thoughts and prayers right now. ((HUGS))

  • Russ Eldredge

    There really aren’t words to express what I wish I could… so maybe I can borrow some from Ka­tha­ri­na von Schle­gel:

    “Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
    And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
    Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
    Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
    Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
    From His own fullness all He takes away.

    Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
    When we shall be forever with the Lord.
    When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
    Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
    Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
    All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.”

    (verses 3 & 4, Be Still My Soul

    Though I have not lost a child (yet), I have lost a fair amount of loved ones in my life. One of the greatest hopes I have is to embrace them once again, in a time and place where “Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.”

    I wish you all of the hope, joy and peace that our Lord has to offer during this Christmas Season, and beyond.

  • Tracy (tjly)

    Here’s wishing you a 2006 filled with happy golden days. {Hugs}

  • You know Mopsy, I kind of have a feeling that as Mary was giving birth to the King of Kings in a barn and was being visited by lowly old shepherds, she maybe felt a little bit like she was just muddling through the whole thing. I wonder if she thought, “This couldn’t have possibly be the way God intended to have His Son be born?!”. I don’t know, just a thought.

    May God’s peace be with you this week.

  • I’ve started writing this about 6 times and am not sure how to articulate all my thought. I know this has been a difficult year for you, and I pray that 2006 brings you boundless joy.

  • mopsy

    Thanks everyone. I hate writing such dark and cynical things, but I am finding myself being pretty cynical and downright unreasonable. Today I was driving to Chik Fil A to buy the boys lunch. I had Christmas music playing and “Frosty the Snowman” came on. The line where they sing about Frosty coming to life and dancing around irritated the heck out of me and I actually thought: “A freaking snowman can dance around, but my grandmothers can’t!”


    Heather, you are right about Mary. Your words remind me of my favorite Christmas song, “Breath of Heaven.” The line that sticks with me this year is “Breath of Heaven, hold me together, be forever near me…” and when Amy sings “help me be strong/help me be/help me…” Man, do I need help this year.

    BUT…my Grandma Mary’s pastor said at her funeral that God is never too early, never too late. He is always right on time. The events of this past year are “right on time”…I don’t have to be thrilled about it, though. I know that. I know about the fact there is a bigger picture than me and my desire for a nice Christmas. I just feel like I am being kicked while I am already down. Can’t I get up, just for a minute and dust myself off?

  • Mopsy, I love “Breath of Heaven”. That “hold me together…” line has always made me cry, and I’m not much of a cry-er.

    Wishing you a little comfort and joy right now.

  • Mopsy – I just rediscovered you again this week and wanted to pop in here to say that while I have no idea of all the trials you’ve been through, my heart is aching on your behalf because of the pain you are feeling right now. I am so sorry for your struggle, for your loss.

  • Maria

    Mopsy, my heart is breaking over grandma. I only knew her for 20 years & I wanted 20 more. You have her strength (& my deep admiration) for enduring this past year. My love to you all.

  • I’m so sorry. That is just so sad. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • You are in my prayers. I didn’t realize the extent of what you were going through when I e-mailed you. But I’m praying for you just the same…

  • goslyn

    Ah Mopsy, I’m so sorry about your grandmothers. It is alwasy tough to get through the holidays when you have lost loved ones – even tougher when loved ones are beginning thier final journey during the holidays. My grandfather passed away right after Christmas four years ago, and it was really tough.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours this Christmas.

    (PS – find some really stupid Christmas music, like LeRoy the Redneck reindeer by Joe Diffie. You can’t help but laugh.Plus, Tommy will hate the cowboy music.)

  • No words, just thoughts, prayers, and (((HUGS))).

  • This one had me in tears. What a blessing you are to all of us. This year, I am so happy to have Lucy. SO happy. But there are times where there is a hole where her sibling was supposed to be. And it’s ok to acknowledge that, and remember, and not have to be happy happy joy joy all the time. THAT’s WHAT really irritates me about Christmas. All of these disullusioned people thinking they have to be happy, happy all the time. Think about it – do you think Joseph and Mary were happy happy happy all the time, even when Jesus was born, or were they so scared they couldn’t even thing straight? I, for one, think it was the latter.

    I’m going to go pat Lucy right now – and you hug your 5 little cherubs.

    Thinking of you.


  • Kelly

    Just wanted you to know, you are in my thoughts….

  • An exceptional post.

    From a fellow muddler, with hopes for a happier next year.

  • Gretchen…there is so much to think about in this post. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>