GRIEVING: The holidays are not quite the same this year

by | Dec 20, 2017 | writing

Every year, I hear the very thoughtful words of the wise mention how the holidays are not the “most wonderful time of the year” for everyone. That for those who have lost loved ones during the year, it can be a time of painful reminder of their absence. It is not that I didn’t believe these sages in my life. I just never knew how true this was.

Until now.

The loss of my mom is not the first loss in my life.

I was very close to my grandparents. And had a close friend that was lost in a tragic drowning accident while I was in college. But it’s so different. So very different.

Perhaps part of it is the place she held in my life.

Maybe there is some truth to the idea that you experience all the previous losses again each time you lose someone else. So, in effect, I am dealing with this very difficult loss and reliving these other losses at the same time.

I don’t know.

But I do know that I ache.

I hurt.

And the joyfulness of the season seems to elude me.

I can stop and be thankful for the many, many blessings in my life. My mom’s influence being one of them. But none of it detracts from the pain of the loss. And I come back to that over and over.

Perhaps that’s okay. For this to just be a different kind of year. Part of the “new normal”.

Maybe this year, I can lean in to the grief and let it be. Lend my tears to the loss. Honor her memory and the absence of her laughter at our gathering.

Without dreading it. Or worrying if I’m upsetting someone else…acknowledge that it is what it is. For me. And for everyone else. That we all must take it as it comes.

And Christmas is what it is this year. No expectations. No forcing ourselves into any molds.

For better or for worse.

In that freedom, perhaps we will find some peace.

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Sara R. Turnquist