Wow! It is nearly Thanksgiving, and the holidays are coming up on me really fast.
I admit that I am having some really difficult emotions when I look forward to this years holiday season.
It really started last month. In October, there was the triple storm of Terry’s birthday, our 46th Anniversary, and the 10th month since she earned her wings. I got through this by celebrating US at our spot at the beach. It was really awesome to see my grands and my kids, spend some special time with my son and his girlfriend, and to be surprised by my daughter.
Yet, even with that experience being less impactful than I thought, I am having quite a difficult time anticipating the next two months.
This week in Griefshare (http://griefshare.org), we had a special session on surviving the holidays. In the booklet it states, “In the coming days, you are going to be facing some tough emotions. And due to the nature of Thanksgiving and Christmas – with its focus on family, yearly traditions, expectations, social events, and “cheer” – the emotions can blindside you.”
Very true. Right now, I am a mess, a bundled up bag of emotions. Crying one moment, singing the next. Joyus now, sad later.
So, how do I make it?
Some suggestions from Griefshare that (I think) will help include:
- Pain is unavoidable. I won’t stuff it, hide it, or resist it. “Don’t fake it”, is one word they used. This pain is real. But, one thing I have learned in the past 10+ months is that our love is deep, and just as deep as that love is, the pain will be.
- I am not going to numb it artificially, I am going to handle it by holding on to the love of my family and friends.
- Planning for the season. Griefshare suggests creating a plan for the season. Some of this comes naturally to me, yet a lot of me just wants to vegetate. Well, in Griefshare we are told it’s OK to change the plans and vegetate. My daughter and grand daughter both want to help me through the season with some of the family traditions. So, I am not proud, I love them, they love me, I am going to lean on them.
- Create new traditions. I am not sure if I am ready for this one, but I intend to start looking for ways to have new memories with my kids, and grands, and family. This is one thing that I will just have to wait and see.
- Take it slow. This is one area that I have been really great at. Probably too good, but anyway…. If I am not ready, if I am not comfortable, then I am going to move slowly/cautiously until I feel comfortable about where I am.
- Talk about Terry. I think about her every day, every night. I think that I want to light a candle for her this season. Last year I had several candles in my window in honor of her. This year, I would like to get a candle as a memory for her; perhaps even having a place on the dinner table for her candle.
- Recognize that there will be “Grief Bursts”. This was a new term to me, but not a new emotion. Grief Bursts are those moments where I become overwhelmed and the emotions just “burst” out of me. I will let them come, I will allow them to crash over me, I will ride through them, and I will come out the other side when they have crashed over and move on.
- I am not certain about how/when/if I will decorate. I’ll have to get back to this one.
- Turn to God. God, my Father is there for me. This I know, this I believe, and this I trust. I shall talk to Him (more), I will read, I will watch my study videos. Right now, I am watching “Eternity 101” by Randy Alcorn (Session One Video, here). This is a wonderful video series that teaches scriptural basis of Heaven; where Terry is at, where we will be together with our Heavenly Father for all eternity.
- Focus on what I have and not what I don’t.
In the video for Surviving the Holidays, they pointed out that the real reason for Christmas is NOT celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is that, but it also is to celebrate the result – He came to end suffering, death, and pain. “This is a sufferers holiday” – a celebration of His coming, His love, and to look forward to everlasting peace that only comes through him.
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims committ themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14).