Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Elephant in the Room (12/05/13)
TITLE: Silent Night
By Melissa Doerksen
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One last town to pass through and our last fifty miles to go. The sun had risen against the cold sky that morning, lending a brilliance to the snow laden hills we travelled amongst. Each bend in the road revealed a fresh sparkling blanket still untouched after the nighttime flurries. A familiar warmth of being homebound and the close proximity of it, spread through every fibre of my being. This would be the best Christmas of all, I just knew it!
At long last, my husband Mike turned onto Maplewood Avenue. My grandparents had moved into town just seven years ago, after selling the farm. It was a lovely home, although missing the many available activities the farm offered for the Christmas gatherings I grew up with. I could easily recall to memory the skating rink on the frozen pond, and Grandpa’s love of hitching up his beautiful work horses for sleigh rides through the woods on moonlit nights.
I glanced back at Teagan and Brittany, our five-year-old twins, hoping they were soon to awaken. Sure enough, eyelids fluttered, yawns escaped, and questions about breakfast and how close we might be to Grandma and Grandpa’s house began. Impeccable timing as we pulled up onto the driveway. I was rather surprised to see so many vehicles already there, and decided many of the relatives had come out early to greet us.
We stretched taut muscles and limbered up somewhat as we made our way up the steps to the back door. Knocking gently, we entered quietly, astonished at the deafening and unusual silence. I began to wonder if we had somehow walked into the wrong house, as I heard my own voice speaking hollowly to the empty kitchen, “Hello, is anyone here?”
A small voice called back, “We are all in the living room…come on in.” I looked over at Mike with a searching gaze, only to see the same questions in his eyes. We cautiously stepped through the dining area toward the living room, and nothing could have prepared us as we entered the room full of somber and teary-eyed relatives. The weight of grief, like an elephant in the room, left little space for anything else and a heavy silence had settled upon all.
We soon discovered the grisly details of the early morning jaunt Grandpa had taken, as he had longed to prepare the horses for a sleigh ride later in the day. A horrifying accident of being trampled by the very horses he adored! How could this be happening? Who could make sense of this? Why would God allow this to happen, and right on Christmas Eve of all days? Why would Grandpa’s life not be spared, when he had so much life and wisdom left to share with so many?
The evening was upon us, each person lost in their own memories. Light snacks were prepared, and reminiscing and tears surrounded the silent night of grief that had befallen us this Christmas Eve, all too aware of the daunting tasks ahead in order to say our official farewell to Gramps.
Years have passed and we continue to reminisce and remind the young ones of the very special man called Grandpa that we lost at a much earlier Christmas. We relish in all the wonderful memories, and time heals the sharpness of our wounds and that initial shock. Over those first couple years, we struggled with the way our Christmas had been shattered; however, as time marched on, we realized on that silent night we endured so many years ago, it had indeed been a holy night as well. Gramps had been ushered into the very presence of Jesus, and had the best Christmas of his life. When I looked forward to the best Christmas ever, I had not realized who would actually be having the best Christmas ever. If anyone deserved a Christmas gift so wonderful, it was Gramps. He left a blessed legacy!
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