Retired…but not always smiling. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say, I am smiling through the pain of loss and grief. I find myself, this year, for the first time in 64 years of my life, facing a new norm. For you see, the glue that held our family together, my mom, left us in June. And right now we, as a family, are trying to acclimate ourselves to a life without her.
I realize my blessings in having her for so many years, right there celebrating with us. In fact, I almost took it for granted that she would be there. So right now, it still seems surreal. And as we go forward, as a family, this is a season of many firsts without her.
But I am not going to be a Debby Downer here. In fact, the purpose of this blog is to express some choices for all of us to make, to ease the pain of losing a family member and dealing with holidays, whether that loss has been recent or whether the pain has been there from many years now, for some.
I am going forth blindly at this point since this is my first year without her. But what I feel I can do or what I can suggest someone in my shoes could do is:
- Move forward in making a new norm. Since my mom’s house was our gathering place, we can use one of our siblings home as a base and possibly rotate houses in going forward. We can plan as a family and take on hosting holiday gatherings.
- Take some time, this season, to share the memories. Laugh a little, cry a little, but talk about it. Mama may not be with us physically, but she is very much in our hearts. Sometimes the best times can be shared through reminiscing with each other; going back in sharing memories often times do help us move forward.
- Try not to cancel celebrating because you are dreading missing your loved one. Push through the sadness, be with loved ones and/or friends and be a part of celebrations around you.
- If the reality of a traditional celebration is too raw, I recommend a new venture of choice. Take a trip, as a family. Rent a cabin in the woods or go to a warm beach. Volunteer your time, as a family, at a shelter or some other charitable organization on Christmas Day. The whole point here is, change things up!
- If your grief to too much, for celebrating, don’t force it. Spend your time working through it, but don’t shut out those who love you and those who care. Talk to someone. Work through your pain, without pressure, in your own way and your own time. You will get through it!
Well, these are just a few things on my mind to share. It is three days out from Christmas, and I am still wrestling with my choices. But this I know for sure, I will celebrate the birth of Christ in some way, for that is unchanging. I am so grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful event. I thank God every day for helping to ease my grief, for comforting me in my sorrow and for the peace that knowing Him brings… for His mercies are new each day!
May your holidays be filled with God’s provision, protection and peace during this Christmas Season!