This is the time of year when we seem to remember those we have lost the most. The traditions that we all follow during the holidays seem to magnify the holes of those who have left us behind. For some it's a close or distant family member, for others it's a close friend or co worker while some mourn the loss of the past holidays; traditions that have gone away after the kids have grown or family members have moved away. This time of year can be the best time of year for some while others suffer quietly, trying to just get through them with as little pain as possible.
I am in the middle somewhere. I love the holidays and all the hoopla, but, I miss people, some past traditions and have even missed a home (or two) during the holiday season. Whether when I was a young married woman longing to go home for the holidays when we lived far away, or when we moved from the home my children grew up in, the holidays and being HOME go hand in hand for me. So when my home is different, it affects me.
So what do I do during this time of extreme joy and sadness? Here is how I seem to have gotten through the rough spots year after year. Maybe they will help you...
Feel It - First things first. You just feel what you are feeling. No matter how good you are at not showing what you feel, not feeling what you feel is a completely different animal! Feelings happen whether we want them to or not. So embrace it. I am saying recognize what you feel and acknowledge it. You miss someone or something. Period. Now what?
Deal with It - This is the tougher part. Now you DEAL with those feelings. How? I think the best way to deal with those feelings is to remember with fondness. Remember all things good about whatever you have lost. If you suffered a horrible tragedy at this time of year, remember BEFORE the tragedy and all the good you had. Be thankful for THAT moment. That is why you miss that person or whatever you miss; because you were happy when they were around or your traditions were a certain way! So cherish the happiness in that. It's okay to be sad, or upset about the loss, but dwell in the good of the before the loss. Those are the things that keep the memory alive in us. Dwelling in the tragedy or hard spots makes those bad things seem insurmountable. Larger than life. What we want to be larger than life is the wonderful memories we have. Pass those down. Think on those things.
Use It - Now use those feelings of loss to motivate you to make the most of EVERY SINGLE MOMENT you have with those you love during this holiday season. Next year it all may be different. You may lose someone over the year, you may move away from your hometown or sell a beloved house by the end of next year...who knows? So enjoy the RIGHT NOW. Be happy in the little things, because sometimes it's the loss of the little things that is the hardest to get passed. Don't take those in your life for granted. Look for the good in those around you--even when it seems impossible to do.
I will remember those I have lost this holiday season. I will remember their smiles and love. I will remember the traditions that are no more as I create new ones with my family. I will remember the homes that I celebrated those traditions in and be thankful for all the blessings I have had in my life. I hope that all of you spend some time In Remembrance this holiday season. Keep the LOVE larger than life. You will never regret having done that by the end of next year.