Okay, I am going to keep this short and sweet. First, the obvious: Christmas Holidays are dreaded, difficult, and decidedly hard for those of us who grieve a loss during this time of year. Second, the less obvious perhaps: three things NOT to do during the battle at Christmas time:
- Turn away from the battle
- Walk away from center
- Obsess about the loss
Never turn away from the battle. Thats when you get clocked unexpectedly. POW! just like the jagged word-bubble in the comics! Turning away from the battle of grief and loss can plummet you into an abyss of wallowing and wandering. When we aim to ignore our feelings of grief, we can lose a sense of purpose and value in ourselves. Trying to erase feelings, sort of erases us. We need to own our feelings so that we can be exactly who we are, even at the holidays: people whose hearts ache to have our loved one joining with us and our families and friends at all the festive gatherings – like in past years. Embracing our feelings allows us to be present and if we are present, we can be here for the rest of our living-loved ones and enjoy the time we have together.
Walking away from center, the rest of our family (i.e. people who care and share our grief), just gives us the chills. Literally, we are cold and not good for much. A fire burns hot in the middle. Coals in the middle of a fire are red and glowing and good for cooking and throwing heat; the coals that fall away to the edge stay cold, not good or useful for much. It is only when they are picked up and placed in the center that they become good, hot, and useful. We all need purpose and want to feel a part of living life, don’t we? So – we need to figure out how to get ourselves in the middle of the fire. Be receptive to someone gently nudging us, moving us, albeit picking us up – or just get our own feet underneath our legs and walk, run, or leap there ourselves. Either way works, just get to the middle!
Obsessing about our loss usually plummets us into the territory of depression and fear. Hello? We do have a choice. We can choose to obsessively focus on our loss to the ignoring of all else, or we can temper our focus and keep perspective. We need to give a lighter focus to our pain and give a more determined focus to the opportunities of living life fully with those who surround us this Christmas Holiday season. Maybe it’s your spouse, your aging parent, your children, or your friends – all of whom love us dearly. Whoever it is, focus on them. When we focus on others, we cannot focus on our sad selves and often this is what pulls us out of depression. With others, it is less likely we will be full of fear, there is comfort and safety in numbers.
So, in short, do not turn away, walk away, or obsess. Own your feelings and be exactly who you are alongside the people who are the center in your life and focus on them and on life and living. I would be willing to bet that the battle will be a little easier this Christmas Holiday if we do. You and I will be glowing, even though we are grieving.