Thursday, November 5, 2009

Surviving The Holidays

Today I began to do some baking and preparation for the GriefShare Surviving The Holidays presentation that I will be hosting November 13 at 7PM at NewPointe Community Church. This is an amazing DVD and grief support class offered to people that have lost a loved one.

GriefShare: Surviving the Holidays from Church Initiative on Vimeo.

The holidays can be a very difficult time to get through, even if you have not lost a loved one, but imagine having to go through it with that special person no longer with you. It feels as though you have a hole in your heart that goes from the front of your body to the back and nothing can pass by it without falling through it. Like having a huge leak.

We tend to think that after so long a person should be "over it" and get on with life. Yes, we get on with life, but it feels as though we do it without an appendage. You do the best you can, but it just isn't the same!

Even after nine and a half years, my heart and mind go back to my daughter. Oh how she LOVED the holidays! She would begin listening to Christmas music in September, and she would hang Christmas lights up in her room then too! It is still one of the most difficult things that I have to deal with everyday of my life knowing that my Liz is not here.

Every person that has lost a loved one knows that feeling! The purpose for the Surviving The Holidays evening is to share with those people that it is okay to feel certain ways. It is okay to not do the same things you did when your loved one was alive. The holidays will be different. They will NEVER be the same as they were before! It is okay to say no to some of the invitations you receive. You do not want to hide from everyone and hide from life. You simply have to learn to limit yourself. You also must realize that you need to take care of yourself. You need time to rest. So many well-meaning friends and family will try to keep you so busy that you do not have time to grieve. That is NOT a good things to do. It will end up making things much worse.

This is the tenth Christmas we will celebrate without Liz, and each one I have learned certain things. I realized that first Christmas that I was being selfish. I hosted Christmas at our home for years, yet that first year, just seven months after Liz died, I simply did not have the heart to do Christmas. I was the one that wanted to escape! Then after all of the festivities were over, my boys said that they wanted to have Christmas at our house that next year. I never even considered how they felt about having one of their favorite activities taken away from them along with loosing their sister. My heart nearly broke when I found out.

The following year, and every year since, we have again hosted Christmas. No, it is not the same as it was when she was alive, but for my sons, it needed to be something familiar. It helped them with their grief.

That is just what is on my heart and mind today!

Yet, on that some note: I attended a meeting for Clergy at Aultman Hospital on Tuesday morning. The topic was grief! It was so very good and full of things I already knew, but also things that I did not. The grief offerings by Aultman seem to be very good. I never realized just hom much they offered. That is encouraging to me! Also the woman that was the speaker has designed a game called "Doggone Grief" It is an excellent way to help children deal with the emotions of grief. I am hoping to purchase one as soon as they are on the market. Awesome stuff. Thank you Brenda! So nice meeting several brother and sisters in the Lord!

I just hung up from talking on the phone with son, Jordan. He shared his testimony this morning at Indiana Wesleyan University. It was in a small venue, in the commons area, but nevertheless it was the first time he shared it in a large group. He said it went well. I am so proud of him!

Ummm, the smell of fresh pumpkin bread fresh form the oven is filling the house. I need to get back to my baking.

Blessings to you all!


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

This is my third Christmas since my husband died. Even with Thanksgiving, my mind goes back to the last one we spent together.

Grief no longer tears my heart, but sweet memories are tinged with sadness. We will always miss them, but the Lord gives us grace to move forward with our lives.

I pray this year there'll be more joy than sorrow mixed with your Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration.


~Cindy~ said...

we just celebrated our first Christmas without our son (14 yo), in fact we are coming to the first anniversary of his death in 10 days.. What a horrible year...but there are some good things about it too. But definitely wouldnt wish this on anyone.. I am enjoying your blog..thanks for sharing..