Now that I am navigating my very first Christmas without both of my parents, I must learn a new normal. To be honest, it’s not something I am looking forward to right now.
I learned at Thanksgiving time that doing something different could help. Starting a new tradition could be fun and exciting (but I knew it might not be too fun if I wasn’t feeling up to trying something different). Since my birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, I decided I wanted to go the movies. It turned out to be the right move. I like to see movies of overcoming against all odds, so we saw Midway.
As Christmas approaches this year, one of the main things for me has been to focus on the reason for the season: Jesus. Still, the season does also come with many memories (and it could be good or bad). I do remember good memories with both my mom and dad’s sides of the family, large family gatherings when we got together. I really miss that especially since my mom’s side is all literally gone, except my cousin’s son in Wisconsin.
I get newsletters now on “grief”. When I read them, it helps to explain a lot of what I am going through. The newsletters must have had someone who is a counselor write them. They always give good insight as to why I am feeling the way I do. So I’d thought I’ve give you some really good points on understanding fear and grief from the newsletter, and maybe you can relate!
“Many people find themselves more fearful in general following the death of a loved one. We feel vulnerable.“
“We are likely to find that we startle easily and become very uncomfortable with anything that is unexpected“.
“We are fearful that something bad will happen to us or our remaining loved ones, particularly if the death was sudden and violent.”
“Traveling or simply leaving the house to run errands may seem dangerous.”
“When someone close to us dies, it may feel as if our social world has been destroyed.“
“Many people find that evenings and weekends – times that were formerly filled with enjoyable and restful leisure activities – are the hardest times.”
“When we are grieving, we may want to have others listen……We want other people to simply listen to our hurt, anger, and fear without trying to “fix” it or make it better.”
“Youngest family members, the children, grieve, too……children are able to move out of their grief and into play or other activities more easily than adults.“
“Some bereaved people feel a need to withdraw from social life for a time.”
“Family members need to realize that grief is unique for each individual.”
If you have lost anyone (or more than one person), and if you can relate to any of the above feelings, you are not alone!
So the next thing to ask, how do you get through the fear, loneliness, anger, hurt and grief? Well, first we understand that these feelings are normal. No feeling is “right” or “wrong”. They just are feelings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and this process looks different for each person. If someone tells you “how to grieve”, this may or may not be true for you. Allow the process to unfold as naturally as possible for you. This is where I lean into my faith, despite the fear, hurt and grief. The Bible says, “He bore our griefs.” And, “He binds up the broken hearted.” With that gives me hope, hope that I will not be stuck in grief. I look to God, who can help in every situation.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it…..You must try to do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I am trying to do that, do the thing I think I can not do. It’s not been easy. After Thanksgiving, I decided after talking with a cousin on my dad’s side to host a dinner for the holiday in remembrance of our loved ones. My dad has 5 siblings. One, my aunt, has gone on to be with the Lord and I was very close to her. She was the sweetest person anyone would ever meet. So, in honor of my aunt, my uncle (her husband, who died a few years ago) and both of my parents, we had Christmas dinner on Sunday to remember them. It was a nice way to remember times with my parents, my aunts, uncles and cousins from the “old days”. My mom loved to take pictures, so because to her, we had many to look at and remember. That did bring some joy and laughter (and was a good distraction for this time of year). For me, grief comes in waves now. The beginning was nothing but tears, sadness and hurt. Now, it’s waves that come and go with holidays stirring things back up. It’s just the process. Through all of it, having a relationship with God, who says He will never leave us nor forsake us, brings me hope. And now, I can focus more on that hope of seeing them again, one day in Heaven. That thought is now bringing some peace.
For those of us grieving, we move into Christmas Day with heart ache. We can only take this thing one day at a time. I pray you will find peace in the midst of grief if you are going through this process too. I am right there with you.