Blog, Family, Grief, healing, Holidays

Coping with Grief during the Holidays

Another Thanksgiving passed without the 2 people that taught me the meaning of a true Thanksgiving.

Grief

Grief is a strange thing. When it first happens you feel the most tremendous pain in your heart, an ache so deep you worry it will never go away. But as the days and months pass, it gets easier to go about your day. Your heart still aches at the mention of your loved ones name or at a sight of a photo, but you are no longer defined by your loss. 

For whatever reason God seems to bring our loved ones home to him during the Holiday time. A time of love, giving, and gathering making it almost unbearable to get through, but you do, because the love, support and comfort from others is part of that same grieving process. God knew it would be their time and knew you would need the comfort. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Surviving a Loss

The last anniversary of My Dad’s passing was just a few days ago, November 19th. A year or so ago, my therapist had recommended  I read a book titled, How to Survive the Loss of a Love. I bought it right away but never had the courage to open it. I gave myself until this last anniversary of my dad’s passing to read the book. I,of course, waited until the very last minute and sat down to read it as the girls napped that day, and wept. I wish I would have been given this book as I watched over him in the last week of his life, or the time right after. So many words are said in this book that you want/need/yearn to hear when your life is changing before your eyes.

As I was reading this book it was if this nurturing mother in such a calm tone was reading it to me, it was bizarre and yet comforting at the same time.

Some quotes from the book include;

“Reaffirm your beliefs. Reaffirm your beliefs in which you have fair or have found useful in the past. These may include religious, spiritual, psychological or philosophical beliefs you find appealing and vulnerable.”

But it only gets better as your healing progresses,

“You are a better person for Having Loved. You cared. You became involved. You learned to invest yourself. Your interaction permitted loving and caring. Even though you lost you are a better person for having loved.”

And a last good one was;

“Enjoy! Be happy, cheerful, joyful, delighted, pleased as often as you can, as much as you can, for as long as you can. You may feel some guilt about being joyful after a loss. Know that you are not being disloyal to the love you lost by moving on your life and moving on must certainly include joy.”

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

Losing Someone Close During the Holidays

For the last 3 years we’ve missed My Dad in making the turkey for our Thanksgiving Dinner, reading The Night Before Christmas before bed on Christmas eve, we’ve missed the excitement and giddiness he ALWAYS had when handing out gifts. My Grandma whom we lived with since the age of 8 passed away 6 months later.  We’ve missed her giblet gravy, and slivered green bean casserole, we’ve missed her reciting The Lords Prayer before we ate, we’ve missed her old fashioned Christmas music on the record player, we’ve missed attending church with her on Christmas Eve. You can feel the heartache as you read my words, I’m sure. Especially if you have experienced a loss so great as well.

Honoring Traditions

The most important tribute to your loved ones during the Holidays is to relive those special traditions by making them your own. If your children were fortunate enough to know your loved one they too will feel the warmth and love that you remember so well. Do not dwell on the thought of the loss, but praise God for all his Glory and the opportunity you had to know and love someone so dear to you. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

My husband now carries on the traditions my Dad once led. He makes our Thanksgiving bird, he makes sure there is a place at the table for those that may not have a place to spend Thanksgiving. He reads to our children the Night Before Christmas before bed on Christmas Eve. He’s not there to take my Dad’s place because no one in the world could ever fill that void. But He’s there to help us keep his spirit alive, it is a spirit that is truly missed. 

I make all of the sides and that delicious giblet gravy, I make sure Grace is said. At Christmas time I make sure my kids know the true meaning of Christmas and I make sure we make it to church. One thing she did do at Christmas time which I have not found her recipe for was made these persimmon cookies. They were so soft and delicious, she would treat all of her neighbors with these cookies as a Christmas gift. I guess I do carry on the tradition of baking and giving goodies as gifts. I did not think that I was reliving her traditions until just now. Wow!

It’s easy to get yourself down when missing someone and wishing so much they were physically there. Lift yourself up, Sing those Christmas Carols, Embrace the time with your family and friends, Drink Egg Nog and be Merry! It’s the best medicine to coping with the loss of a loved one during the Holidays. Do keep those traditions, even if they’re changed into your own little way. Remember that your loved one is watching over you and enjoying these times of love and laughter from above.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and I am sorry for your loss. ❤

(see affiliate link above to purchase book through Amazon)

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