Holidays and Hard Times


Sometimes life gets hard. Whether it’s school, work, family or money, life can have its ups and downs and when we loose a loved one, all of these things combined certainly take their toll. And, when it hits, it hits hard like a tsunami out of nowhere…

Just when I think my life is back on track, I realize my heart hasn’t shed all of the grief it has just yet. Aloneness. Advice-less. Emptiness. Hopeless. Despair…   All seem to knock on my door when the holidays roll by. Christmases, birthdays, thanksgivings, New Year’s celebrations just aren’t the same anymore. Instead of mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, siblings, aunts and uncles sitting at the dinner table enjoying the holiday, I am left with these horrible feelings. The feelings of regret rear their ugly head for a meal—why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I saw that? And then guilt drops by for a bit—maybe I didn’t do enough. Maybe feeling bad is the price I pay for living. And just when guilt sets in, fear knocks at the door. What if I can never heal? What if I can never move on? Will my daughter and husband suffer a life with a mother who is dead on the inside?

Suddenly, I remember a quote by a talk show host of a self-help show I used to listen to on Sirius XM radio. She said that the best way to honor the dead is to make your life worth living. In other words, to live in such a way that you are living life to the fullest experiencing and doing the things your deceased loved ones cannot. Ah, for a moment I am comforted. And then the serenity prayer comes to my mind:

God give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change,

To change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I am comforted by knowing that grief is a continuous process of learning and re-learning, taking in and letting go. One thing I can control is how I live my life from this day onward. My daughter didn’t come into this world with the knowledge of all that has been lost and all that has happened before she was born. She deserves the best life I can offer her and in order to give that to her I have to be in control of my life and feelings, even when the holidays come around. It’s ok to be sad for a moment but in the end the best way to honor those that have past is to live my life happily. It is the only thing that I can control after all.

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