Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us! Thanksgiving is right around the corner with Christmas not far behind. This time of year means lots of things to different people. For some, the holidays are a time of family, friends, excitement and fun. For others, well….not so much. The stress and anxiety of the season are especially overwhelming. But for those who are grieving the death of a loved one, the holidays are a harsh reminder of what has been lost and what is no longer their reality. Forget engaging in the festivities. Simply surviving the holiday season is a daunting task! I do not have all the answers, a quick fix or a much desired detour around the holidays. I can, however, offer some tidbits I learned along the way in my own journey through my grief during the holidays in an effort to help those who are grieving navigate their own.
First, let’s just be honest and own I AM DREADING THE HOLIDAYS! There really is no reason to deny how we feel or pretend we feel something we do not. Now we may have to pick and choose our audience because not everyone is able to hear the truth of how we feel and there are some who just don’t need to hear it. I had a 10 year old daughter who did not need to hear my heart about how much I dreaded Thanksgiving and Christmas. And while I wanted very much to just bypass the whole season, she very much needed normalcy, routine and tradition. I had to figure out the balance for both of us. I had a few good friends who could hear the rawness of my broken heart and my poor journal became my place to emotionally vomit the things I felt were too much for even them. (Sorry for being so graphic. Just being real.) And for what was above and beyond to speak or to put in writing, I took to God. He was and is big enough and nothing is ever too ugly or too raw or too honest for Him. He already knows anyway. There is a huge relief in just getting it out and then once we bring it out in the open, God can then begin to work in those deep places of the heart that only He can reach.
So with the holidays upon us, let’s start with just being honest with ourselves and with a good friend or a counselor and certainly let’s be real with God. Only in truth can we begin to make our way through the holiday season and prayerfully find on the other side our dread was much worse than the actual journey.