advent journal: snowed in


The first time you

came to Boston

it was so cold;

the wind bit us

at the bus stop.

You pulled me

close and asked, “Am

I still wearing pants?”

then you laughed.


When you first

came to Durham —

our first Christmas

in our new home —

we were snowed in.

You looked out and said,

“I’ve never had

a white Christmas”

and you smiled.


Tomorrow will be

in the sixties when

we pick Mom up

at the airport:

no snow; no you.

We’ll smile and say,

“Now let me tell

you something . . .”

and miss you.


As our house fills

up with empty

chairs, I don’t

know how to

prepare for absence.

I am snowed in

by sorrow, grateful

for those who keep

digging me out.





  1. Why do we Christians think there is some kind of lead barrier between us and our departed loved ones?? And a similar one with God if we insist in keeping our lives separate from our faith. Hush, and in your grief allow the comfort to flow in like the warmth from a beloved’s fireplace. Your father is waiting in that space to comfort you.

    • Thanks, Shari.

      I have come to understand more about grief being “a thin place” where my faith if more palpable and my father very present. I don’t think of him as separate; he is, however, absent in the ways I once knew him. I find comfort in the old hymn: “earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” Merry Christmas.


  2. I didn’t always get to spend Christmas with my brother, Dan, since he often volunteered to staff the ER on holidays to give others a chance to spend them with their loved ones. I was always glad to know I shared a world with someone so generous and loving. This will be the first time since 1957 that i will have been in a world where he is just a loving memory. I, too, am feeling thin places where faith has to take over from certainty. Knowing of others who also walk this dark path is helpful. Thank you.

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