Just last weekend, I was fortunate to hear the Turtle Creek Chorale in Dallas. Each year they perform an amazing Christmas/Holiday concert with old and new Christmas favorites. Our family has attended each year for the past few years. This concert signals to my brain that Christmas is only a few weeks away.
In addition to the Christmas music, the director and chorale take a few moments to remember all the Chorale members who have died this last year. Apparently, the public in general has repeatedly asked about the timing of that memorial. Why remember those who have died at Christmas? The answer is simple, “It is at the holidays that we miss our loved ones perhaps most and once again feel the painful loss.”
That is exactly right. Who of us doesn’t miss a parent, a sibling, an aunt or uncle? Who of us doesn’t remember that ideal Christmas where everything seemed peaceful and our images of family are solidified in our heads?
The families who are temporarily living at the Family Abuse Center shelter or in our housing programs are reminded at Christmas of family members who are no longer part of their family. Even if there was violence in the home, there were good times and loving memories. Perhaps they remember the loving interactions between family members. For others, Christmas is a reminder of how their family never lived up to the Christmas card picture of a happy family. Sometimes the memories are actually nightmares that they hope they don’t have to live through again.
At Family Abuse Center, we strive to provide new opportunities for hope and new lives. We hope and pray that we are creating new wonderful memories of Santa bringing toys for the kids and providing helpful items for the client. In the safety of the shelter, they are starting a new life. While we cannot erase the pain of the past, we can provide the support to start life again. While we cannot make everything right, we can give clients a chance to make things better for themselves and their children. In the midst of the chaos and tragedy of domestic violence, families in the shelter are experiencing the joy of the holidays.