Professor Gibson
Thought Bubbles

All is Calm, All is Bright

Hello Dear Friends,

My mom passed away suddenly on December 21st. The days following will forever be etched in my memory, not for the festive cheer but for the eerie silence of grief and loss. I immersed myself in planning her funeral, meticulously selecting each detail, from the flowers to the speakers. For me, it wasn’t just a ceremony; it was a final tribute, a daughter’s last gift to her mother. I needed it to be perfect to honor her life and legacy.

My family attends Christmas Eve service after my mom’s death. I was five months pregnant at the time.

My mother loved genealogy. She spent days weaving together the stories of our ancestors. I remember visiting cemeteries as a kid. So, I felt a lot of pressure when it came to finalizing the details of death. Items like her death certificate might hold clues to her life for future generations. It was more than a document; it was the closing chapter of her story, and I was determined to get every word right. These details and her funeral had to be planned with precision and care—you don’t get a second chance at these moments.

Not only was I meticulous, but time was not on my side. I was determined to wrap up these details in under three days, leaving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day free of death. I wanted to pause all planning, set aside the sorrow, and focus on being a family. We craved some semblance of normalcy amidst the heartache, a momentary reprieve from our newfound reality.

On Christmas Eve, we attended the candlelight service, a tradition that suddenly carried more weight than years past. My mother planned to go with us, so it only seemed right to still attend. As we drove, we passed a sign reading, “All is calm, All is bright.” The words struck me, and tears began to flow. At that moment, it felt like a message, perhaps from my mom herself, assuring me that in the midst of our grief, calmness and brightness could still be found. Despite the overwhelming chaos, everything would eventually find its way to being okay.

My mom’s death wasn’t the only monumental change. The loss of my mother-in-law two weeks prior had already shaken our foundation, and my mom’s death felt like a cruel inversion of our world. My husband described it as an earthquake, a seismic shift that left us grappling with the aftershocks, trying to navigate an existence that felt strangely foreign.

Yet, in the quiet of the car, the words on that sign offered a glimmer of hope. In our darkest hours, it’s often small signs that become our guiding stars. That Christmas, as we gathered under the soft glow of candlelight, the ache of absence was undeniable. But so, too, was the presence of love and the promise of hope.

At that moment, surrounded by the warmth of family and the singing of hymns, I felt a quiet peace rise within me. It was a peace that passed any understanding of why this happened. This Christmas wasn’t about the festivities; it was about resilience, the enduring power of love, and the belief that even in our deepest sorrow, we can find moments of peace and assurance that all can be made bright in the end.

Here’s to your Christmas. May it be one full of peace and love.