Does being in the midst of the Holiday season make you feel sad because of what you’ve lost?
All around us are signs and expectations of joyous, happy people, gathered together to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. While for many of us, it is a painful reminder of those that are missing from our holiday celebrations this year.
It may be the daughter whose mom has passed away. She’d love the opportunity to ask her mom just one more question about her famous stuffing recipe. Maybe it’s a broken heart because of a prodigal son that won’t be present at Christmas dinner. Or the mom who misses her daughter’s mischievous laugh when caught peeking at packages under the Christmas tree. Real grief. Grief that seems to scream louder during the holidays. The hurt may be years old, but the dull ache in the heart lingers under the surface as every Christmas carol is sung. It also could be that the hurt is recent and fresh, like a ripping open of your very soul and you can’t seem to find your footing.
My daughter Nicole went to be with the Lord 3 days after Christmas in 1998. This has forever changed Christmas for me. Many years have passed since then, but each year as the holiday season approaches, I feel that old familiar ache in my chest. The grief still pushes me to tears as I crack open the boxes of Christmas decorations and see the stocking with her name embroidered along the top. What I wouldn’t give to see her empty the contents of that stocking and hear her sweet voice say, “Thank you Mama”. I miss her every day, but I miss her more intensely during the Holidays.
The first Christmas without her was the hardest. The thought of putting up Christmas decorations as if nothing ever happened seemed absurd, so we decided to try to go away for the holidays. We were so blessed when a gracious family offered to loan us their house in the mountains for Christmas so we could just get away together as a family. It was a huge place with room enough for the extended family. It was a blessed time of healing and a safe place for us all to express our grief. I wonder if that family has any idea what an amazing gift that was to us?
If this is your first Christmas without someone you desperately love and miss, I would encourage you to give yourself space to mix it up. Don’t allow the expectations of the culture to define what is best for your family. If you are like us and can’t stand the thought of being at home during that first Christmas, go somewhere new, or give yourself the freedom not to decorate at all. There will be time later to pick up the traditions that you want to or to even create new ones. The main thing is that you give yourself room to grieve and to allow God to bring healing and comfort to your heart.
Even though I had no choice on the loss of my precious girl, I did come to learn that I had a choice on how I reacted to the loss. I had and still have a choice every day and every holiday season on whether I will receive God’s cheer and comfort or dwell in my pain. I want you to know in time, that it is possible to receive hope and healing. Even Cheer
Cheer: Something that gives joy or gladness; encouragement; comfort.
Please join me the next couple of weeks as I share some of practical ways that I’ve learned to cope, even thrive during the difficult holiday seasons since Nicole went to Heaven.
I’d like to send you a gift of one of my favorite essential oils. Cheer is an uplifting blend and one of my favorites! Just follow the steps below. Offer ends December 10, 2017
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