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.
6 thoughts on “An Uncomplicated Christmas”
I love this message. Thank you so much! After my son died, I went through group grief therapy sessions. The nurse therapists who conducted the sessions at the University of Utah taught very similar tools in how to deal with our grief during all the holidays. They told us to do what felt best to us even if it meant changing our holiday traditions to help us manage our grief. For example, they suggested we go pamper ourselves with a spa treatment or massage. Dare to do something different was their primary theme. Since my son “Dan the Light Man” ran an incorporated Christmas decorating company from the age of 12-19, when he passed away Christmas was the most difficult holiday for me to enjoy. He installed Christmas decorations and lights on homes and businesses every year and after he passed away it was very difficult for me to look at lights during this time of year. One time Danny’s father, brother snd one of his brother’s friends flew to Nassau Bahamas to spend tge holidays and on Christmas day we were out on the beach. That by itself was breaking our usual Christmas tradition of partying with my in-laws, but what I did next really helped! Anyone who knows me knows I use comedy to deal with my traumas and grief. Well I happened to find some Christmas cards with Santa Clause wearing a Speedo swimsuit and I while I was lying on the beach I started addressing and filling each of the cards with a bit of sand! It felt so fun to do this! I then mailed each card from the Bahamas the day after Christmas and when we returned home one of my friends told me a funny story that happened to them. When he opened his card he was eating cereal for breakfast and the sand fell into his cereal bowl! I don’t remember if he was laughing when he told this to me, but I do know he wasn’t angry😊 One other thing that helped me through the Christmas season was what a friend of mine, who knew my son Danny very well, told me to do. She said, “think of each lightbulb you see as a life your son touched while he was here on earth.” That is what I did and what I continue to do now.❤️💡🎄
Thank you so very much for sharing your story, Cathy. Dan the Light Man touched so many hearts in his short life. One day you will see him again. 💜❤️
Thank you for sharing Patty❤️ I know this will mean so much to my sisters and many more 😘
Thank you, Patty. 🫂❤️💜
I so relate to the concept of “dare to be. Especially at the holidays. Every year, 12 months from the holiday before, so much has evolved in the world and so much has changed within ourselves, it just has to be different from the time before. My dad passed away on July 4, Independence Day, and it has never been the same since.
But we need to dare to be different to keep moving… and moving forward… to live the life we need to fulfill and the life they would have wanted for us.
@Leslie, so very true. We do need to try our best to live the kind of life our loved ones would want us to have. ❤️💜