Yes, my stomach was in knots…just as it always feels the first time I hear a Christmas carol, or see Christmas anything…every year it’s the same feeling. And it hurts. Actually, it hurts badly.

by Carol Sokolsky

I’m not sure why my car drove into the parking lot at The Market, but somehow it must have sensed that I needed to be there.  I even wondered why I decided to drive over that way, but there I was, so why not go browse just a little while…after all, I haven’t been to The Market in almost a year, and I had nowhere to go until later.

As I entered, the incredible smells of Christmas hit me and immediately I heard it….the sounds of Christmas for the first time…yes, Christmas music was playing.  The Market was so festive, people were wandering the aisles picking up and admiring the ornaments, and Christmas displays were everywhere….just everywhere.

Yes, my stomach was in knots…just as it always feels the first time I hear a Christmas carol, or see Christmas anything…every year it’s the same feeling.  And it hurts.  Actually, it hurts badly.

So I wandered around a little while, realizing – as I do every year – that I need to “get over” this feeling of loss and lonesomeness and gritty pain when Christmas hits me in the gut again…34 years in a row…and I wonder again if it ever gets any easier…probably not….

Thirty-four years ago, just six days before Christmas, my precious 9 1/2 year old son, Jeff, got on a snowmobile for a fun ride, and within minutes, walked right into heaven. December 19th changed everything in my life, for the rest of my life….and I have no idea of the depths of grief that I’d carry in my heart.  And here I am, 34 years later, and the first sounds of Christmas take me right back to December 19, 1981…and I found myself with tears in my eyes as I walked slowly through The Market.  Good thing I always have my sunglasses, because they went on, like a mask to hide the liquid love that just oozed from my eyes and the pieces of my heart that felt like a jigsaw puzzle all broken apart.  And it’s been 34 years.

It’s those moments when I get caught off-guard that the stabbing occurs…right into my heart. Yet, after a few minutes of having “a moment”, I again began to remember the giggle-love he was to me, and how much he just loved Jesus…and he did…he loved Jesus!

Almost finished browsing the aisles, and about to leave, my eyes locked on it….the reason that my car made its way into The Market parking lot today.  And I bought it, because God knew I’d need a special hug today, and so He brought me to The Market.  On a rustic piece of wood, in the gray and aqua colors I love so much, were these words:

“When life gives you more than you can Stand…Kneel”.


If you’re having trouble this Christmas season because of loss, we want you to have a space and a place to be able to properly grieve and receive hope. At First United Methodist Church of Tulsa at 5:30 pm on December 23, we will host our first ever Blue Christmas Service. This service is for people who know that there is joy in the world but are not quite ready to sing “Joy to the World.” It is for people to name or reflect on their grief. It is for people to cry out to God and believe and know that God has heard your cry for mercy.

Other upcoming Blue Christmas (sometimes called Longest Night Service) in the area include:


Carol Sokolsky is a newcomer to Tulsa. She relocated from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in October, 2014 after retiring from FedEx Services, Global Account Management. She spent most of her 33 FedEx years as a road warrior, leading a large global management team and serving one global customer for over 20 years. Her passion for blogging began in 2010 as she launched a two-year blog that chronicled the journey of her husband’s valiant fight with cancer and ultimately the end of his journey. Her blog became a book, “Sid’s Journey”. She continues to journal daily on just about everything!

You can also read about Carol’s experience at Cain’s Ballroom, her Journey Through Grief, having a life coach, why Tulsa is such a great place to live, or her journey through losing a son.

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