Here we are in December, the month deemed the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. We know this isn’t true for everyone, especially those who are missing loved ones. This month tends to bring a host of feelings other than wonder and joy.
For some this will be your first year without your loved one and you’re dreading Christmas. For others this may not be the first, but you’re still having a lot of feelings about celebrating a holiday without your loved one. If anyone hasn’t told you – this is all perfectly normal. Please don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.
This year I’m aiming for an uncomplicated Christmas. What does that mean exactly? Personally, it means I’m going to do what feels good and right to me. I’m definitely a work in progress but I’m hopeful it’s possible.
I decorated the inside of our house this year, which was a first for me since Melanie ran ahead to heaven. I started early so it wouldn’t feel like a burden. Melanie loved Christmas and I’m trying to bring back some of our old traditions which brought joy to our family. This is a first time I’ve felt a freedom within my heart to do so.
Strangely, now that Christmas is looming large in front of me I’ve begun to feel that old familiar heaviness creeping back in. The missing … the longing … the sadness, which all equals grief.
As I felt the stirrings within my heart I knew what I had to do. In my quiet time I took all those cares to feet of my Heavenly Father, my rock and the only One who can truly continue to heal my heart. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4. He already knows how I’m feeling so who am I kidding if I try to keep it all bottled up. There are many things we can do with all those feelings – we can ignore them, act on them in a negative way or try to make something good from the bad.
Each Christmas since Melanie has been gone the one thing I’ve found to bring me comfort and joy is to serve others, especially those who had the same struggles that she did. This year I am partnering with my women’s bible study group, and we are visiting a local women’s recovery home. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), it’s one where Melanie went many years ago. I’m sure as I walk through the doors of that home it may be a mix of emotions. Yet, I cannot wait to love on these girls because it will be just as if I am loving on my own daughter.
Even though I will continue to feel all those feelings of missing my girl, my goal hasn’t changed – I’m still aiming for an uncomplicated Christmas. I will enjoy the beautiful twinkling of the lights on the trees in our house. I will watch all the silly, predictable, and yes, uncomplicated Christmas movies I feel like watching and I will accept only the invitations where I am truly comfortable being myself.
Spending an uncomplicated Christmas may be different, but since I’m not the same person I was before Melanie died, different is OK. I hope you will consider joining me – step out and dare to be different, too. Be as uncomplicated as you’d like to be this Christmas.