Celebrate The Life Not The Loss
Holidays can be joyous times and yet if we have lost someone, they can be difficult times. The loss of a loved one can hang over the holidays like a dark cloud and our joy is hard to find. I have heard people say they could not be happy at all because they had lost a loved one not too long ago and it did not matter that they still had family here. And I thought about that for a long time. I lost both my parents within six months of each other, my dear uncle before that, a dear friend and now my beloved aunt. Yes my heart misses them terribly.
I remember watching Dr. Phil one day and a woman who had lost her son was on the show. She was in such grief that her other son who was still alive and needed his mother was being totally ignored. The mother could not see what she still had for what she had lost. But, Dr. Phil made a statement that stuck with me. He asked her did she have good memories of her son and his life up until the point he died. The boy was 13 I believe when he died. She smiled and told him oh yes she did and proceeded to tell him of things about her son with this look on her face showing the memories were so good. When she stopped talking…he asked her this one question:
” Then why are you letting one day take all that joy away from you?”
I sat there the rest of the afternoon thinking about that. No matter what comes…death, divorce, separation, etc….why do we let that one day strip us of the joy of all the others? Why are we not celebrating the good times we had instead of clinging to the loss of our loved one? It is like we are diminishing the person and the time we had with them by holding on to the pain of the loss and the fact they are gone and not remembering all the good times we did have.
He went on to ask her was that all his life was worth? Was his life only about the fact that he killed himself? And she almost looked stunned and replied quickly with a NO. He said but that is all you are giving him. You are not celebrating what a good athlete he was, or how good he did in school, or the joy he brought when you all went on trips or how you loved when he hugged you. You are celebrating death instead of life. And not only are you denying your son that is dead the recognition he deserves, you are denying your son that is still here the love and recognition he deserves.
It was a powerful show and I thought about how Christmas and holidays can be so hard..especially the first. That first year is first Christmas without them, first birthday, first Easter, first vacation…and we grieve the loss. After that, I decided to start celebrating with my lost loved ones. I put their pictures out, hang an ornament on the tree, talk about this event or that event at Christmas or how they said things, or what food they cooked. We cook their special dishes and we enjoy the life we had with them.
I see people divorced/separated that let bitterness rule their lives and yet there WAS love in the time people had with their loved one or they would not have married them, been with them. There was happiness or they would not have stayed together as long as they did. So, why let separation turn you bitter and why not remember the fun times and the joyful, loving times of the relationship instead of counting the years as wasted time for they were not. I am divorced but if I had not married my ex I would not have my two beautiful sons nor my grand baby. I remember fun times, laughter times, joyful times..and that is what I choose to hold on to.
So, maybe this year…instead of holding on to the darkness, maybe you can find a way to light your world up a little by remembering the happy times, the joyful times of the one you are missing. Cook something that reminds you of them, or a tradition that reminds you of them, fix their picture with Christmas garland…do something that brings them into your life and say their names a lot for it will bring the joy of the person back to you. I listened to my dear friend Sherry (www.drses.wordpress.com ) on a radio show the other night talking about grief and healing and she talked about this very thing. She talked about how we need to say their names and feel the joy of the memories it evokes. The man doing the radio show said his loved ones name and was astounded at the joy it brought to his heart just from saying her name.
No matter the loss this year…make a choice to make your holiday be one of celebration and joy. Make a choice to:
“Celebrate the life not the loss.” danLrene
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