The holidays are stressful but more so if you're dealing with loss.
This isn't brand new information but it is a good reminder to be gentle with yourself (and others) if the wounds of grief are fresh or even if that long scabbed -over hurt opens again. That happens, even when you think you're "over" the loss.
It is hard to feel joy when your emotions are a toxic stew of sadness, despair, guilt and regret. (Insert your emotion here:______________________________!)
2014 was the first Christmas without my father. Dad wasn't exactly a fan of the holiday. He generally bought into the religious significance of the season, but bristled at the consumerism, cost and chaos of it all. Still, the absence of his presence was felt that first Christmas. In order to connect with him on a tangible, touchable level, and honor his memory, I had his clothes made into rugs. One for each of my siblings and Mom. Every rug had a tag "With love from Dad."
This year, I find myself lost in darkness and an unsettling numbness. I can't seem to conjure up the spirit of my Dad as I did last year and that makes me sad. It is as if I've finally realized he's gone and he's not coming back.
A delightful and very wise friend of mine, grief counselor, Kelly Grosklags, (See her Facebook page "Conversations with Kelly" for more!) posted this wonderful idea to acknowledge the loss and honor a loved one who has passed away. She recommends buying a three wick candle and placing it in the center of your holiday table or another place of focus. Each wick represents the past, present and future.
Kelly says when lighting the candle, say this blessing as each wick is lit:
"Past - " to honor the memories we share & your legacy"
Present: "asking for comfort and ️healing as we miss you "
Future : " to honor the connection and love we will always share"
As the candle burns, each person can share a memory about your loved one. The flame, a universal sign of ️light. May lightness enter the darkness of your grief."
Bringing light into darkness. May the light, in whatever form, illuminate your way forward and the beautiful memories of those we're missing during this holiday season.
Peace to you and yours.
The Blog Authors
Bruce started writing about living with ALS shortly after being diagnosed in 2010. The blog is called the "Dis Ease Diary."
Cathy is a journalist so she's used to writing. Blogging is different because it feels so personal and that can be scary. Bear with her. She'll figure it out!
You may hear from Ev from time to time. Ev is Bruce's beloved wife. She's a music teacher at a French immersion school.