Grieving And The Holidays
Holiday time is a very hard time for those who have lost someone, especially the “Firsts” as I call them. The first birthday without them, the first Christmas they are gone, the first special event are all times that can be extremely hard on us. Grieving is not just about those that died. A long relationship that ends brings grief especially if we did not want it to end. A career ending that we did not want brings grief. Losing our health brings grief. Those things that are huge losses cause us to grieve but how we grieve is up to us. This blog is about grieving the loss of someone we love.
Grieving is an individual process but it also is a process we must take ourselves through. It is something we work through not something that just happens to us. We can either work our way through it or we can let it consume us and take our lives. Sometimes we need help going through the grieving process and need someone to walk with us and there is no shame in that.
“When you suffer a loss, people often think how long they hurt and how bad they hurt is testimony of how much they love. So they think if they quit hurting they have reached the limits of their love for that person. That is simply not true.
Grieving has nothing to do with time. It has to do with how you use that time. Time heals nothing. You can have three years go by where you do nothing but pull inward and you are no better off than the day after the loss or you can really work hard to get your heart and your mind right and three months…six months later you are ready to move on with your life and honor that person in a different way.” Dr. Phil
I often wondered why some people never seem to be able to move forward after the loss of a loved one and spend the rest of their lives grieving and in deep despair and some seem to find a way to work through their grief and a way to make the loss be something that is positive. And this quote below totally explained it for me. It is our misconception of what grief is. Grief is a process and if we do not work through the process then we stay in the same place we were in the day the person died. We will not ever quit missing our loved one. We just earn to take that love and carry it forward.
There is no set path for grieving for it is all personal. The stages of grief are just ways for us to recognize when we feel these emotions that it is part of the process. Some people may not feel all those emotions and some may feel them all. The only one we must go through for our healing is acceptance that this has happened to us. Acceptance is like forgiveness. Forgiving someone does not mean what they did is right. It means you free your heart by letting go so you can live with it. Acceptance does not mean it was alright for your loved one to die. It simply means you accept that they are gone and you must go on without them physically in your life. It does not mean that it will be easy or that you never have moments of sorrow. It simply means you accept the reality that they are gone and learn how to live your life in such a way that you are not in constant despair.
“You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”
Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler
This is why some people decide to create foundations or non-profits or they do events to raise money to help others that are going through what they are. It makes something good come out of the loss that is so hard to bear. This does not mean every person must create a foundation or non-profit. It means taking that loss and using it as a way to honor their loved one in some way. It may be just getting on with living life with some joy in your life. Every person grieves at different rates but the one thing I have learned is if your grief is still as overwhelming as the day you lost a loved one and years go by and you are still in despair, then perhaps it is time to get some help with your grieving process. It is time to let someone else help lead you through the pain to find acceptance and to learn how to live again.
For me personally, grieving the loss of a loved one during a holiday means including them in the holiday. I keep their pictures out and make them visible for me. I talk about them and the good things I love that they said and did and I try to hold on to those things.. My godfather passed away February 4, 2014. I miss him so much as he was a huge part of my life. I miss his voice and the Irish brogue that he would use when he would call and say “Calamity, me darlin gurl. How are you?” I still hear it and I never want to lose that memory.
He is in my heart and in my celebration this Christmas and will be every Christmas just as others that I have lost are. Sometimes changing up how you celebrate a holiday helps. For me, I realized that the best way I could grieve the loss of him here was to remember all he taught me and use those lessons to form my life forward for he was a man all about the love of Christ. I choose to take the wonderful memories and make them a part of my holiday this year and every day and not hide all the memories and pictures of him. I pray that any who are dealing with their “First” Christmas after losing a loved one or are still grieving find the peace that comes when we can look at their picture, hear their voice and remember all the good things about them without feeling so much despair that we want to hide anything about them. My faith helps me do that for I know there is a heaven and I know where he is and I know one day I will see him again.
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