Today marks the 30th anniversary of my sister’s death. You would think that after 30 years, I’d be “over it”. Nope. I still miss her and even more now, miss what our relationship might have become.
This week I participated in our Blue Christmas service at our Church. As I read the 40+ names of the “Angel’s” that our community has lost, my voice was strong and clear, until I hit the name “Glenda Fleming” my sister. I broke down. Not just tears as “most” people do, but sobs. I was grateful for the compassion of my friend Darlene who came to my side and helped me continue to read the remainder of the names.
I would be lying to you if I told you I love the Christmas season.
I work to make Christmas as joyous as I can,
To be honest, I’d much rather it be summer and I would prefer to be fishing at the lake. Oh don't get me wrong. I love some things about Christmas. I am one of the first to start listening to Christmas carols and they play continuously in my home. I love the lights. I love getting special gifts for special people. I especially love that our family all is together during this time.
For me, I look back over many Christmas’s and see events that dimmed the joy. I remember 3 years after my sister passed away, still fresh with the grief, I felt, very lonely. My husband and I had travelled to his sisters to celebrate the holidays. There was a houseful of people, yet, despite that, it felt like no one to experience my grief with me.
Another year, I had gone through some really challenging times a work and only 3 people showed up to the staff Christmas party I planned. Depressed and not sure I ever wanted to go back to work, I took two weeks off and tried, albeit not very successfully to “enjoy the holiday”.
The season is dimmed by many experiences
I know many of you have similar memories. Job loss. Relationships falling apart. Addictions. Always having to work. No one to spend it with. The list goes on.
The truth is, we all have a multitude of things that happen to us during the holiday season. We also have numerous things happen to us at other times, but there is something about the holiday season that makes it much harder to take. The songs and social media tell us “It’s the happiest time of the year”. Um…sorry to burst that bubble, but for some of us, it is not the happiest time of the year. In fact, it is a very difficult time of year.
Yet the show must go on
There are gifts to be bought. Parties to attend and food to cook. And honestly, it's no fun being a scrooge. So how do you do it?
Here is what I have learned about getting through the holiday season.
We create our experiences
This year, allow yourself to be human. Acknowledge your pain. Feel your hurt. It is real. What is also real is the fun, the joy and the good times going on around you.
If you allow yourself to enjoy, you will enjoy. But it is you who must decide, what kind of Christmas, it's going to be.
I plan to make it a memorable one. I will tuck lots of little moments of joy away in my heart adding to all the other beautiful Christmas memories I have.
I lead a full life full of love, adventure and growth. Check out my latest thoughts here.
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