|Posted on December 12, 2018 at 9:15 AM|
Every Christmas has been difficult for me since my first husband died in 2011. Seven Christmases without him. Ouch. God blessed me with my Boaz, my second husband, but you can’t replace a husband the way you would replace a dead pet. Each man is special with his own personality and gifts. I was used to one man’s unique view of life, mannerisms, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. This hubby now doesn’t always display the characteristics I need for the moment. As godly and loving as my Boaz is, it isn't his responsibility to do so, either. That void can be overwhelming.
A couple of things I’ve learned the past few years is to not grieve “on que” when people place expectations on me. I’ve allowed myself to take the time to look over Facebook “On This Day” posts from the last Christmas our family spent together with him. I’ve made myself put up decorations when I didn’t feel like it, but this year I allowed myself to take my time about it. My Boaz has been great about letting me work through the emotions. We’ve taken a couple of short trips to Frankenmuth this year, which helped my Christmas Blues mood. Focusing on others in the family by getting their gifts has also been a great mood booster for me. I’m not sure this goes away, but it can become better.
Grief is a quirky thing. It seems to pop up out of nowhere at odd times. There is usually a trigger like a song, an ornament, a familiar moment from the past, a smell. Whatever “it” is, it grabs you hard and makes you cry. Working past the pain is hard. The good news is you don’t have to move at the world’s pace because the world doesn’t love that person like you do. Maybe you’ve lost a child through miscarriage, still birth, or other ways. You are grieving what would have or could have been for your child. For me, I lost not only a loving Christian man I met when I was 15, I’ve lost a way of life, future dreams, traditions, and so much more. Whoever you miss terribly, you’ve lost a lot. Acknowledge what you miss for that moment.
I’ve noticed many others who struggle this time of the year. If you are grieving a family member or friend this time of the year, this post is for you. If you are supporting someone in grief, this may help you help them. Whether you’ve lost a child, parent, grandparent, spouse, or close friend, the empty seat at the dinner table is unmistakably vacant. It is painfully obvious this name is absent from your shopping list. Maybe you miss the laughter and smiles. Whatever it is you remember that is no more, you can learn how to make the loss easier each day. Here are a few ways I found that can help you through the Christmas blues:
1. If it is your first Christmas without him or her, put a picture of your loved one where they would sit at the table. At grace, thank God for having loved this person and enjoyed him or her as part of your life. Let others around the table share what they loved about that person. It is uncomfortable, but it allows everyone who wants to participate the freedom to share in the grief.
2. Give yourself permission to not decorate until you feel like it. Instead, go somewhere with Christmas decorations you can enjoy today. You may even want to purchase inexpensive decorations to decorate minimally, something that doesn’t slam you hard with memories.
3. Allow others to set up the festivities. Whether it is decorations, food, or special gatherings, you are off the hook. This gives you the freedom to exit when you need to or to participate in only what you wish.
4. Do allow yourself the time to cry. God gave us tears to wash away the pain. If you avoid grief, you will be hit harder later.
5. Others grieve with you, too. Be willing to talk about that person with others who miss him or her. If the person was a baby, talk about what all of you expected to enjoy with that child. Miscarriage or stillbirth? Name your baby and allow yourself the time to spend at the grave, if you were able to have a funeral. Have a home memorial service.
6. Write about that loved one. Commemorate him or her with your words. Blog or journal.
7. Pull out pictures or something special that belonged to that person. Reminisce about him or her.
8. Give that person up to the Lord. He or she is loved by God even more than you, as difficult as that may seem. God is not mean or uncaring. He entrusted your loved one to you for a period of time. This person is in His loving hands.
9. Reach up to the Lord with your tears. He loves you with an everlasting love. He has not forgotten you in your pain. Spend time sharing your heart with Him allowing Him to comfort you.
10. Christmas will happen with you or without you. Take the time to reflect on what Christmas is rather than what it is often made to be by other people. Appreciate what you have now. God is blessing you in your present.
Consider what God says about grief in the Bible. I would like to offer these passages:
Psalm 30:4-5 (this one is key for grief)
You can look for more at Bible Study Tools under Popular Verses. May you feel the Lord’s loving arms around you giving you comfort and peace in your season of grief. There will eventually be joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
If you want me to pray for you, feel free to email me at [email protected]. Have something to share about grief and loss? Comment below. Many God bless you!