These past few weeks I have been teary and I couldn’t figure out why. I have been busy, but in the best possible ways, so I knew I wasn’t stressing over any work or Hope Lives Here issues. Maybe I was tired. You know how when a little doesn’t get their nap in and they cry over the smallest thing? Hmmm… Was that it? Logan is definitely happy at college so that wasn’t it. The answer came to me, of course, in a moment of stillness and sadness around Luke: the freaking holiday season is upon us.
When you lose someone you love, many days can be full of memories and angst, but none more so than the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve stretch. Just think about what these six weeks hold. Time with family and friends, thinking about what you want to buy for someone special to make them smile, holiday cards and finding the perfect picture, traditions around baking and decorating, picking out a tree. There are a million special moments that go into making this season so magical, but now these are bound to the feelings of missing a loved one. It’s a proverbial minefield – never knowing how you will react on any given day. Add to that the fact that the rest of the world is feeling so JOYFUL and you are not, and well, it is tough, friends.
So, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that my heart was starting to feel heavy. Grief is a complex beast. Four and a half years can feel like a very long time – like enough time to pass that healing can take place. Or grief can make you feel like you’ve been dragged through every single one of those one thousand, six hundred, and twenty days. If you are just new to the grief journey you might be asking yourself – Will it ever really feel like the “most wonderful time of the year” again?
So here’s what I need you to know: Today, I bring you great tidings of HOPE. Yes, that first year is to be survived. Yes, that second year the reality sets in and the heartache is real. But then you start to figure things out. You know your triggers so you take steps to keep out of their way. You start to wake up more mornings with a lightness in your heart. You breathe a little easier. And when that holiday season shows up on your doorstep and announces “I’m here!” you get a little teary, but you don’t lose your sh*t. You invite it in, and maybe even embrace it. Because what you have endured, whether it’s been one day or one thousand, proves that You can do this. It may not always be pretty, it might require more Kleenex than a Hallmark movie, but You are getting through. Here’s to HOPE for the Holidays and Hearts full of LOVE. Here if you need me. Xxx