On the 16th Day it isn’t always enough … to smile and grin and try to be tough… A post on coping with Grief and Loss at Christmas time.
For many days I have been posting regular messages of joy, glory, praise and holiday cheer as we ‘countdown to Christmas’. I plan to continue! Today, my message of hope and praise is just a little different from the norm. I wish to acknowledge the suffering that often accompanies this time of year when empty chairs and broken hearts seem especially out of place.
Suffering from the loss of a loved one at any time of the year is difficult, yet during the holidays or on other special occasions, the grieving experience has a more intense sense of loss. The world is moving forward, celebrating life and all its blessings, yet for those who grieve, a dark shadow pervades the holiday.
If you’re mourning a loss this Christmas, the holiday glam and seasonal lights can make you feel terrible … You’re not alone if you’re dealing with death – Grieving at Christmas
Every person’s grief becomes a very different and personal journey. There is no “one size fits all” guide to getting through the holidays, or to healing. Sadly, there is no magic wand that can make ‘everything ok’. According to Kay Talbot, PhD. one should expect “sudden Grief Attacks”, exhaustion, disruption, emotional “echos”, “if only’s”, “Should have’s”, anger, fear, and deep, soul searching questions. These are just a few of the many faces and stages of grief. Several books have been devoted just to getting through the holidays after a death.
However, there is an assurance that life will get better. Of course, it will never be the same as before. But, gradually we can each feel stronger and more in charge of our life.
Two years ago I had the priviledge of attending a Christmas concert being given by an LDS folk singer named Cori Connors. I was enchanted with her warm personality, her generous spirit, and her deeply moving lyrics. Cori’s songs bubble with life. They include the joyful moments, but she is not afriad to explore the many not-so-happy challenges of mortality. I love Cori’s songs. They’re real. They’re honest. And, they’re intimite. One of these songs, entitled “You Would Have Loved This” was written at Christmas, following the death of Cori’s mother-in-law. That particular song has been running through my mind so much lately that I decided it really wanted to be a MoSop Movie, and that this topic really needed be posted!
It is my hope that Cori’s words, and music can help heal something inside each of us.
Not long ago, when my family had gathered together at my mom’s house, we set up the old brown card table in the middle of the living room. Out from the cupboards and bookcases came boxes and albums full of old family photos. Those photos called up memories for all of us, some painful, but mostly sweet. They were a tangible representation of all that brought us to where we are today.
Richard Exley said…”Experience again the full range of emotion memories invoke. Let them play a nostalgic melody on the strings of your heart. Remember the warmth of a special friendship, the comfort of kindness, the closeness of family. Think about the Christ Child in Bethlehem’s manger and the nearness of God. Blink back the tears, if need be, and swallow past the fist sized lump in your throat, but don’t quench the memories. They are a part of your history, part of the web of experience which God has woven into the tapestry of your personhood.”
I have counted the years by Christmases, written on a series of envelopes and papers, and set to music in the wee silent hours at home. These songs are the pages of my scrapbook. My love and thanks to family and friends who embedded themselves in my heart.
The following MoSop Movie was created with all those in mind who have some hurt to endure, tenderness of soul, or pain of heart. It is my wish that you will find joy in your memories, and much sweetness amidst the sorrow. I’m sorry I do not have the right words to say to take your particular pain away. But, I offer up a song, and a prayer, and my love.
Consider this a Christmas hug from Cori, and I.
Enlarge in HQ for Best Effect!