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Tag Archives: Holidays

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This time of year can be so difficult for those who are still grieving.  Whether it is a loss of a person that breaks your heart, or you are grieving a divorce, job loss, estrangement with a loved one, there is a hole in your spirit.

Being forced to attend parties during the time of mourning, I remember trying to slap a smile on my face; I kept telling myself to keep it on even if it hurt to pretend. But, after awhile, it was exhausting.  There was too much false praise and gaiety; the noise and celebration became too much for me, and I had to excuse myself to leave the room.

One of the hardest things while mourning is the guilt about laughter.  I remember how badly I felt if something might make me smile and that it was inappropriate to enjoy when my heart was broken.  Quiet, and time to restore your personal strength, is so important as you mourn.  I look back and realize just how long I was mourning; I also realized that while I tried to behave like a “normal” person, my brain was actually in a fog of grief.  During that time, my trust was abused. Vulnerable, and not strong enough to fight back, I was treated badly.  That, in hindsight, was a cruel lesson that I could not fully acknowledge or reconcile for a long time.

So, when given the chance to defend someone else, or create understanding, I felt that I had to.

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Grief takes time and mourning comes and goes.  No one can truly understand the memories that you share or the triggers that set off your emotional alarms.  Running to hide in the bathroom, or outside, to cry is understandable.  Yet, we are protecting others’ feelings while not honoring our own.

Miss the one that you love.  Accept, acknowledge, and process all the feelings that go with it. It is a private journey.

Empathize with another because you can recall pain.  If you are able to gently recognize this in another, don’t try to make someone else “snap out of it” or push them to a party. Busyness is not a healing tool.  Build in some quiet moments for another; sensory overload is too strong or overpowering at this time.

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Remember, that no one is immune from an overactive mind of memories, lost moments, and painful goodbyes.  Don’t feel that you are “supposed” to feel cheery, hearty, or joyous just because it is the Holidays. Surround yourself with kind people and avoid toxic or negative situations that will only aggravate and stress the depressed spirit you already are experiencing.  Use music if that is calming, or escape into a book, if you are a reader.  If the outdoors soothes you, take a walk or even just look at photos of beautiful places in nature. Distraction can help to calm the thoughts for a couple of minutes.

You deserve joy, compassion, kindness, understanding, and peace.  If you cannot find support, give it to yourself.  If you are grieving, it means that you have loved.

May you find personal peace and comfort at your own pace with the time to experience and seek it out.

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saying someone cant be sad because someone else has it better

To anyone who has suffered a loss of self – a job, a loved one, an estrangement, a broken heart, wrenching illness, pain, or the million other tragedies that occur out of our control – this is a most difficult season.

I am not minimizing the loving family images, or the stirrings of home and hearth, that they elicit. But, in the season of comparisons, we feel incomplete.

We want the fantasy; the cozy fire glowing and reflecting the lights and sparkle of holidays sets us dreaming.

However, this is the season of comparison.

To those who still continue to grieve, or have just begun, regardless of the length of time, our mourning has no expiration date. Seeing all those happy shiny faces is a stark reminder of what, and whom, we have lost. The family traditions and holiday overload can be painful knowing our hearts will never be quite healed and that there are certain times that can accentuate the particular pain and loss that is being endured. It is hard to remember that you are not alone and that not everyone has a perfect life behind the facade.

We are thankful and acknowledge our gratitude and appreciation. Yet, we are also quite aware that we are no longer the same person in the “new normal.” For someone else to suggest that we don’t deserve to acknowledge our sadness, loss, and sorrow, is a selfish and gratuitous remark; like all of the other platitudes such as “Life goes on” and “You are still grieving?!” Remember, these comments are a lack of empathy on someone else’s part and do not represent a failing in you. You deserve to take as much time as you need to mourn your respective loss.

Sometimes, the best we can hope for is a kind friend. Grief and heartache are individual, and too delicate, to place in the hands of those who cannot understand for they have never walked the journey.

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Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Get a group of siblings together, add a parent, or memories of one, and you will discover that you cannot imagine that you lived in the same house. It is incredible the variety of memories and stories from our youth that seem so different. Our emotions, inflections, good and bad, vary based on the relative telling the story. And, of course, we each think that someone else was her favorite.

At each family gathering, without my mother, the memories flow and the perspectives she left each of us with, becomes a topic of conversation. Her physical presence is not with us, but she is always a part of who we are and how we keep her with us.

We carry on her stories and merry escapades to share with our own children. By keeping her stories alive, we keep her a part of our lives always and make sure that our children and grandchildren realize how big a place she holds in our hearts. We sing her songs and greet each new family member with the lasting wishes she asked us to pass on. Her legacy of love is a promise we keep.

Luckily, Mom lived an interesting life, and had her own quirky way of looking at things, so that the story never ends.

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