name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : A Note To Those Who Are Grieving {Especially At Christmas}


12.06.2016

A Note To Those Who Are Grieving {Especially At Christmas}

When I was a child, we spent Christmas at my grandmother’s house in Louisiana. Her small yet cozy home held my family as well as my three uncles, their wives, and their children. Eventually, my brother’s boys joined the crew. We would attend mass early on Christmas Eve then head to Maw-Maw’s for a gift exchange, the best food, and a good time together.


I can still see her tree that housed too many presents; I can taste the honey baked ham, her gumbo, and her potato salad. Since she didn’t have a fireplace, she pulled out this replica that unfolded to show red brick and a fire made of cardboard. We would giggle at the silver duct tape holding it together after years and years of use. It was her in living room on Christmas Eve that I got my first tiny camera, a surprise ticket to see my favorite boy band, and a CD player for my first car. I can also hear my uncle grunting HO HO HO one year as he appeared as Santa, frightening the smaller cousins.


As I write these words, I am sitting in my living room on a rainy day. I look up and see lights on my real fireplace mantle. My little one is napping, and it’s quiet. Thinking of Maw Maw’s precious, inviting home makes me smile because I am blessed those memories exist. Then, I have my moment where I think of how much has changed. My beautiful Maw Maw. My awesome dad. My big brother. All in my memory but not with us this Christmas. Up and down, I go again.

On Sunday, I attended a candlelight remembrance service for family members to attend, say their deceased loved one’s names out loud, and light a candle in his/her honor. The preacher spoke. The hymns played. Their faces displayed for everyone to see. In that moment, just as I am having now, I think of all the change since we taped our stockings on that cardboard fireplace. My mom and I sat there; she had her tissue, and to be honest, I pouted like a toddler. Why does life have to be THIS? I didn’t want to sing Christmas carols or light my candle for a memory. Stinging, bitter thoughts, and I let myself feel it all.

Returning home afterwards, I had two beautiful faces greet me as I drove in the driveway. My oldest knew where I was and gave me a hug that squeezed out the pouting and the sting. My littlest - who does not know how hard the world can be – grins like her best friend just came home. I had felt the hurt a few hours before, but I now felt the joy and the life I am supposed to be living.


If you are grieving this holiday season for memories past or for a loved one no longer here, I have no tips or how to’s to make this Christmas easy for you. What I do know is this – feel it all. From the hurt to the joy that can come almost simultaneously. From the sadness to the blessings. From the old memories to the fun of creating the new ones.

You DO NOT have a timeline for grief. You are the only one who knows your journey. But, when you feel like pouting or shouting the frustrations you feel, DIG SO DEEP to find what is good. You may be missing a huge piece of your heart, but there is so much good. For me, it’s the face of my two biggest gifts. It’s my husband who is celebrating a big birthday this month. It’s my brother’s two boys who are the BEST young adults I know and who text me often to say they love me. How can I stay sad when I have all of that?

I can guarantee you I will have my moments this Christmas. I loved giving my dad gifts. I love the practical jokes my brother use to play. I love hearing my Maw Maw sing in church. Those things will be missed enormously. And if I want to cry, I will. I may have a good ugly one, and you may, too.

Let's just promise each other to get in there; dig around. Find that good. And while you're searching, know you are not alone. I am digging right alongside you.

9 comments :

  1. Grief really is such a tough thing. I'm so sorry to hear about all of your losses. Life is tough and death is such a hard thing to work through. It seems to be especially hard at Christmas. I'll be praying for you and your family as you go through Christmas and work through those difficult but wonderful memories. I'm glad that you have such wonderful memories of all of the loved one's you've lost.

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    1. Thank you so much. We appreciate your prayers! I am determined to make this a great Christmas!

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  2. Oh I needed this! So much. Very wonderful post. I'm currently in louisiana via my husband in the army. :) Originally from hawaii. I'm always looking for signs from the people I love who aren't with me. Mahalo nui loa for sharing. ❤️

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    1. Where in Louisiana? We still have family there and love to go back! I love signs - I see them often so that definitely makes things easier. Thank you for reading!

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  3. I love the honesty here, that you're allowing yourself to feel your grief. That you're not forcing yourself, but that you're also allowing the good to flow in. Thank you for sharing this, there are so many who need to hear that's it's ok to feel this way too. Hope your Christmas is Merry!

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    1. Thank you! Writing about definitely makes it easier at times. I appreciate you reading and for your comment! Merry Christmas to you!

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  4. I love the honesty here, that you're allowing yourself to feel your grief. That you're not forcing yourself, but that you're also allowing the good to flow in. Thank you for sharing this, there are so many who need to hear that's it's ok to feel this way too. Hope your Christmas is Merry!

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  5. Thank you for being so real and honest here. So true there is no timeline on grief. Saying a prayer for you.

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    1. I feel your prayers and thank you so much!

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