December 25, 2022 - Grief and the Holidays

I have struggled to find the words to express my heart during this Christmas season; there have been more than a few tears.

For all of those who this is your first Christmas without a loved one, or the second, the tenth or the twenty-fifth, there is a void left by the death of a loved one; it is real, there is no denying it, there is pain. You miss their presence, their contribution to Christmas, their laugh, their love, and so much more. We can put on the “happy face” and say we are fine, but inside our hearts grieve the many losses in that loved one’s death. For many, you multiply that pain with each family member not gathered this Christmas.

Last Christmas, my first without Shari in forty years, is a blur in my memory. My goal was to make it through Christmas, to survive the holidays. This Christmas has been different as I miss the things and ways she made Christmas special for our family, for me. We did some things differently as a family, some things the same. The girls were giddy and excited, and I did better than I ever imagined with their stockings, evidenced by hearing their oohs and ahhs as they pulled things out of their stuffed stockings. Shari could get more stuff in a stocking than anyone I have ever seen, me, well I got them stuffed.

Grief sucks; before you get offended at a word I have always tried to avoid using (my personal conviction) let me explain. A dear friend of mine whose wife died just a short time after Shari told me once that “each day was a new level of suck.” Grief attempts to suck the life out of us. It will take your breath away, it will bowl you over with an emotion that comes out of nowhere. It will suck your energy for today and your dreams for tomorrow; it will attempt to suck you right down the drain of life.

Today, grief will try to suck the joy out of our Christmas celebrations and family time, but we will keep moving forward, and we will “survive” another holiday, and as we do, we will begin to thrive again.

My words may be rambling today, but they are from the depths of my heart. Over the last 16 months, I have seen many deaths (over 30) of those who have impacted my life. Some I had known for many years, others a short time, but each made a difference in my life. I will press through the grief and continue to work to make a difference in the lives of others. As I do, I am honoring the lives of those that made a difference in my life.

I know it is what Shari would have wanted; Go MAD! Go, make a difference!!!

My prayers go out today to every family that has lost a loved one this last year, two years, five years, twenty-five years, or anytime, the loss is still there. Christmas blessings to you, one and all!

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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