Author Topic: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles  (Read 11195 times)

Terry

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Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
« on: September 21, 2010, 01:39:09 PM »
Share your favorite links on tips that you feel could benefit others in trying to cope with the most difficult time of the year.

Or, share what has worked for you. What has helped you get through the weeks before, dealing with family/dinner invitations, huge gatherings which cause many of us to feel very uncomfortable, and how you asked a friend or family member to honor your child around the Holiday's.

Maybe it was an ornament with your child's picture or a video of your child for your Keepsake Albums. Some will ask us and some will not. Over the years, I have had to initiate the conversation in regards to how I would like my children honored. I have asked some to share a memory of them around the dinner table, light a candle at each setting remembering that they are always with us in spirit, place a gift under the tree for them or what some have done is to bring Christmas stockings over with a few of their favorite things.

Others really don't know unless we tell them. Some will not ask in fear of upsetting us. It was appreciated when I offered some suggestions on how to honor my children around the Holiday's.

Over the years, many here have shared their joy and their sorrow, so please do so again as your wisdom and compassion have helped so many to survive what they feel can be unsurvivable. Your words are powerful because they are filled with love. When reading the posts from Holiday's past, I was so moved by the outpouring of affection for others and how broken spirits were lifted and even more touching, how lives were saved.

This is a link to an article posted by John - Danielle Marie's Daddy, titled,"Tips for Handling the Holiday's!
http://webhealing.com/forums/index.php/topic,361.0.html

Pick out your favorite articles that have been posted/or ones you have posted and have helped you and articles you have read over the years and post the link for all to read! Share what some of your friend's and family members have done to honor your children!

This thread is now open to all with any tips/ideas/suggestions for the Holiday Season.

Thank You!

My Love to you All!
Terry

« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 01:04:14 AM by Terry »

Motherof3

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Re: Holiday Tips & Ideas
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 12:34:36 PM »
Terry,
   Thank You soooo much for the link and tips!! I am already thinking about the holidays and how difficult they are going to be for me this year,especially Christmas. Rachel's birthday is the 22nd of Dec and of course Christmas is 3 days later. In fact I brought her home from the hospital on Christmas morning. I remember the nurses has tied a small red bow in her hair.She is the most precious Christmas gift I have ever received!!!!! Not even sure if I want to decorate and have Christmas this year. I guess time will tell as it gets closer.
     
  If tears could build stairway and memories a lane. I'd walk right up to Heaven and bring You home again. Rachel will always be in My Heart. Sleep with the angels baby girl!

Terry

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Re: Holiday Tips & Ideas
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 02:12:10 PM »
Hi Gale,

For years, I did not have a tree and wanted nothing to do with the whole family thing. What I've done every year is continue Jeff's work with the homeless with his daughter, visiting the shelters and giving out stockings, finding those on the street who are alone and buying them a meal and just spending time with them. We also go to all the hospitals and nursing homes, which Jeff also did and bring a little stocking and sit and visit with those who are feeling so down and with no family around. This has been so rewarding for both me and his daughter.

There was a year here and there when I had a tree but no family get togethers. I tried the first couple of years and it was a disaster. Last year was the first year that I really enjoyed Christmas with my entire family. It was not without tears, but I enjoyed it.

Please, do only what you feel you are up to doing. Do not allow anyone to cause you to feel guilty because you do not feel up to joining in on the festivities. The aftermath of doing so will just cause you more pain.

Try and surround yourself with those who truly understand how you're feeling and accept you for that. If they ask if there is anything they can do, tell them from your heart what you would like. Whether that be a candle in Rachel's memory, a picture they may have of her that you want enlarged or it may be a frame for a picture you already have. speak from your heart. If you would just like to be alone, relay that to them and if they cannot understand...so be it!

Rachel is your daughter. This is your grief. Do not allow anyone to ambush you!

You have my love,
Terry

Terry

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Re: Holiday Tips & Ideas
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 07:51:31 PM »
Instead of a link, I copied and pasted this article, as the page itself contained many ads and another story. Hope this helps for all of our Mom's and Dad's facing the "Firsts" this year. You all have my heart!


"The First Christmas After a Death" --Susan Dunn

1. When we grieve we have no energy.

Decisions are hard to make, the smallest chore seems monumental, ordinarily joyous things are not, things that used to bother you don’t bother you any more, you don’t defend yourself well, to pretend takes too much effort, and you need lots of rest.

“She is seeking the solace of sleep,” my sister would tell people who called.

Nothing matters. The oven goes out, dinner has to be canceled and you have to reconvene in a restaurant. You wonder why something like that would upset the others so much.

2. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Do what you know you should do. Think of a time when it mattered, if necessary – supplements, eating right, rest, talking to someone, keeping your obligations manageable, getting exercise.

Your immune system will be run down. Outsource it. Therapy and support groups bolster your immune system.

3. You can cancel Christmas if you want to.

Sleep, take a walk, or study something intellectual to get your mind off emotional things.

4. You can also change the venue.

One woman took her grown kids downtown to a hotel and they celebrated there.

5. People want to help you and they don’t know how.

Nothing will really help. You just want them back. But let others “do something”. If they ask and you can’t think of anything, ask them to “do something”. They’ll figure it out. Everyone knows houses must be cleaned, dogs walked, groceries bought, and meals prepared.

6. Alcohol doesn’t help anything.

7. Explain what you need.

Say, “If I get up and leave the table, just let me go. I’ll be OK. I’ll come back when I’m ready.”

8. You might get some relief helping others – serving dinner to the homeless, or buying gifts for a family in need.

Then again you might not, but at least you’ll have wasted some time.

9. What will you do with their Christmas stocking?

One woman set out her husband’s Christmas stocking with a journal beside it for visitors to write in it. Another woman slept with her daughter’s stocking under her pillow.

10. Avoid malls.

You see things you would buy for the one who is gone, you see the happy couples when you are no longer a couple, you see the cherubic face of a little boy who looks like the one you lost.

You hear the music. Even a little is too much. Remember you can turn the radio and television off.

In the words of a caring friend of mine, “Have a Christmas.” You may be hard put to supply the adjective, and that’s okay. If you choose to observe the day, “Have a Christmas,” and understand that those who slip and tell you, “Well, I hope you have a Merry Christmas,” don’t know what they’re saying.

The “firsts” are difficult – the first anniversary, the first birthday, the first Valentine’s Day, the first fall, summer, spring and winter.

“How odd,” you may think, when the first snow falls in the first winter after, or when the first daffodil blooms in the first spring after. “How odd that’s the same when the most important things are not.”

Prescriptions and predictions are annoying. Time does heal many people and it becomes less raw with time; however, if that time does come, it comes at its own pace. Be forgiving of yourself and others, and, well, have a Christmas. Or don’t. One way or another that particular day will pass and you will have survived your first Christmas without them.

Together our group had a holiday memorial to our loved ones, lighting the 4 candles in the Advent wreath. No one knows who wrote the prayer, but here it is:

A HOLIDAY MEMORIAL FOR [YOUR LOVED ONE]

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage – to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

And then you can say their name.

Terry

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Re: Holiday Tips & Ideas
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 11:11:50 AM »
"Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season" shared by mojomomma

http://webhealing.com/forums/index.php/topic,278.0.html


Terry

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First Christmas after a Death
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2011, 12:22:49 PM »
"The First Christmas After a Death" --Susan Dunn

1. When we grieve we have no energy.

Decisions are hard to make, the smallest chore seems monumental, ordinarily joyous things are not, things that used to bother you don’t bother you any more, you don’t defend yourself well, to pretend takes too much effort, and you need lots of rest.

“She is seeking the solace of sleep,” my sister would tell people who called.

Nothing matters. The oven goes out, dinner has to be canceled and you have to reconvene in a restaurant. You wonder why something like that would upset the others so much.

2. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Do what you know you should do. Think of a time when it mattered, if necessary – supplements, eating right, rest, talking to someone, keeping your obligations manageable, getting exercise.

Your immune system will be run down. Outsource it. Therapy and support groups bolster your immune system.

3. You can cancel Christmas if you want to.

Sleep, take a walk, or study something intellectual to get your mind off emotional things.

4. You can also change the venue.

One woman took her grown kids downtown to a hotel and they celebrated there.

5. People want to help you and they don’t know how.

Nothing will really help. You just want them back. But let others “do something”. If they ask and you can’t think of anything, ask them to “do something”. They’ll figure it out. Everyone knows houses must be cleaned, dogs walked, groceries bought, and meals prepared.

6. Alcohol doesn’t help anything.

7. Explain what you need.

Say, “If I get up and leave the table, just let me go. I’ll be OK. I’ll come back when I’m ready.”

8. You might get some relief helping others – serving dinner to the homeless, or buying gifts for a family in need.

Then again you might not, but at least you’ll have wasted some time.

9. What will you do with their Christmas stocking?

One woman set out her husband’s Christmas stocking with a journal beside it for visitors to write in it. Another woman slept with her daughter’s stocking under her pillow.

10. Avoid malls.

You see things you would buy for the one who is gone, you see the happy couples when you are no longer a couple, you see the cherubic face of a little boy who looks like the one you lost.

You hear the music. Even a little is too much. Remember you can turn the radio and television off.

In the words of a caring friend of mine, “Have a Christmas.” You may be hard put to supply the adjective, and that’s okay. If you choose to observe the day, “Have a Christmas,” and understand that those who slip and tell you, “Well, I hope you have a Merry Christmas,” don’t know what they’re saying.

The “firsts” are difficult – the first anniversary, the first birthday, the first Valentine’s Day, the first fall, summer, spring and winter.

“How odd,” you may think, when the first snow falls in the first winter after, or when the first daffodil blooms in the first spring after. “How odd that’s the same when the most important things are not.”

Prescriptions and predictions are annoying. Time does heal many people and it becomes less raw with time; however, if that time does come, it comes at its own pace. Be forgiving of yourself and others, and, well, have a Christmas. Or don’t. One way or another that particular day will pass and you will have survived your first Christmas without them.

Together our group had a holiday memorial to our loved ones, lighting the 4 candles in the Advent wreath. No one knows who wrote the prayer, but here it is:

A HOLIDAY MEMORIAL FOR [YOUR LOVED ONE]

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage – to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

And then you can say their name.

Adams Brokenhearted Mama

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Re: First Christmas after a Death
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2011, 09:32:25 PM »
I really like the 4 candles idea.
XO
XO Love to all my sisters & brothers-in-grief XO
Wishing you all peaceful moments, signs from your Angels & many blessings

Terry

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Re: First Christmas after a Death
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2011, 03:03:16 AM »

So do I, Paula!

Terry

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Surviving Grief During the Holiday Season
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2011, 03:16:30 PM »
Written by: Angela Morrow, RN

With the first fallen leaf of autumn, we begin to anticipate the holidays ahead. Our senses are acute and take in everything: the smell of turkey roasting and freshly baked pies; the holiday songs playing on the radio; the sound of laughter from our loved ones who have gathered together. But for those of us who are experiencing illness, grief, or the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time of sadness, pain, anger, or dread.

The ebb and flow of grief can overwhelm us with waves of memories, especially during the holidays. Grief will also magnify the stress that is already a part of the holiday season. How do we begin to fill the emptiness we feel when it seems everyone else is overflowing with joy? There are some strategies to help you cope during the holidays and beyond.

Strategies for Survival


Offer Yourself Some Grace

The best thing you can do this holiday season is be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is your feeling. Don’t fall prey to the belief that you have to feel a certain way or do certain things for your holiday to be “normal.” If you feel sad, allow the tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to vent some steam.

Be Kind to Yourself

Get the rest and nourishment you need. Don’t take on any more than you can handle. If you need to be alone, honor that. If you crave the company and affection of others, seek it out. Do whatever it is that feels right to you.

Ask For and Accept Help

The holiday season is no time to feign strength and independence. You will need the help and support of others to get through. Don’t feel as though you are a burden. People get immense satisfaction and joy from helping those they care about.

In times of need, other people desire to help but often don’t know how. This is the time for you to
speak up and make your needs known. If you need someone to help you with meals, shopping, or decorating, tell them so. They will be delighted to feel like they are helping you in some way.

The same holds true for your emotional needs. Friends and family may feel uncomfortable when it comes to talking about your grief. They may think that you don’t want to talk about it and don’t want to remind you of your pain. Again, you will have to direct them in the best way to help you. If you want to talk about what you’re going through or just want a shoulder to cry on, let your loved ones know.

Find Support

Sharing your feelings is the best way to get through them. You need people you can talk to. Friends and relatives can be a great support to us during times of grief, but they are sometimes full of their own grief or so immersed in the business of the holidays that they cannot be a support to you. Support groups for caregivers and the bereaved are plentiful during the holiday season. Check with local churches, community centers, and hospice agencies to find a group that suites you. Support group members often make friends that end up being a source of support for years to come.

Make a Difference

Most of us like to help others during the holiday season. Taking the ornament off the tree at the mall, dropping our change in the charity basket, or donating to our favorite organization can help us feel like we are contributing to a greater good. Helping others in times of grief can help take the focus off yourself and your pain. Volunteering at a nursing home, hospital, children’s shelter, or soup kitchen can be cathartic in times of pain. Even helping a friend or family member in need can be healing.

Stop the Comparisons

It’s easy to watch other families and compare them to your own. Seeing other families together and enjoying the festivities may make you feel deprived. Keep in mind that the holidays are stressful for most families and are rarely the magical gatherings depicted in greeting cards. Try to embrace what you have rather than compare it to what you think others have.

Remember That You Will Survive

As hard as it is for you right now, you will survive. You will make it through the holidays in one piece. It may be the most difficult season in your time of grief, but it will pass. And when it does, you will come out on the other side stronger than before.
You don’t have to enjoy the holidays. You don’t even have to go through the motions pretending to enjoy the festivities. But, it’s also just fine to have a good time in spite of your grief. If happiness slips through your window of grief, allow it to happen and enjoy it. You won’t be doing your loved one an injustice by feeling joyous. The best gift you can give anyone you love, even someone you have lost, is being true to yourself and living your life to the fullest.

Terry

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Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2011, 07:19:55 PM »

With chat being open, it may be an idea to schedule times to meet for around the holidays. For "those certain" days. We'll get together before then and leave times when each of us will be available. I don't know my schedule yet but as soon as I do, I will post it here and then we can coordinate with the others. I'm flexible, even though I care for my Dad 24/7 because I also work from my home and Dad's nap time is my free time. And, it's pretty routine, time wise.

Hugs!!

SarahW

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Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2011, 05:59:38 PM »
Merry Christmas to all.

I hope you all have Happy Holidays - or if all you can manage is dragging yourself through them with your sanity mostly intact, then that is OK too.

I had some good moments and some rough moments, but am coping.

Good to be able to share here.
I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. -- Emily Dickinson

You were a gift

Terry

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Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2011, 12:34:57 PM »

Thank You, Sarah. They are almost over. But, not quite. We hold on the best we can.

Always thinking of you.
Love,
Terry

Terry

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Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2012, 01:49:12 PM »
Tips for Surviving Grief & the Holidays

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other seasonal holidays are stressful for nearly everyone. But they can be particularly difficult if you’re grieving the death of a loved one.

The pain, sadness and loneliness that often follow the loss of a friend, family member or animal companion can feel unbearable when everyone around you is celebrating. This is especially true if it’s the first holiday without the loved one.

Grieving in general is a struggle but during the holidays, when our emotions are already on high alert, trying to figure out what to do can be very confusing, especially if you are trying to keep everything as it was before the person died. Traditional tasks such as cooking, tree decorating, gift-buying and entertaining can add to the intensity of one’s grief, too.

Grief is a normal human reaction to the loss of someone important in our lives. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Every person grieves in their own way and at their own pace. Grief can affect people physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

Most importantly: No one needs to grieve alone!

Be mindful of the energy that grieving and the holidays take. Both are hard work and exhausting. You can take care of yourself by spending your energy wisely, getting enough rest, and being careful not to overbook yourself with activities. 
    If certain family traditions—such as carving the turkey or leading the family in song—make you uncomfortable this year, don’t do them. You can always pick them up later.
    When you are grieving, your memory may not be up to par, or you may be having trouble concentrating. That’s normal. For holiday tasks such as cooking, shopping, cleaning and organizing, make lists and rely on them. 
    To avoid the stress of shopping, buy gift cards for everyone this year, or shop from catalogs or Internet sites. If mail order gifts cost more than you would normally spend, consider the difference a gift to yourself to preserve peace of mind.
    If your loss was an animal companion, ignore potential comments such as, “Get over it already! Enjoy yourself? It was just an animal.” Some people have never experienced a close bond with a pet and are unable to understand what you’re going through. Thank the person for their concern, and continue to grieve in your own way.  Seek out family members or friends who understand the pain of your loss.
    Pay attention to yourself. Listen when that little voice tells you that you’re tired and need to take a break from holiday preparation.
   
If you are feeling pressured to participate in more than you’re comfortable with, try saying “No thank you.” You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Be kind, but firm. Do what feels right to you.
   
If you are up for taking part in festivities, enjoy them in moderation and to your comfort level. Let the host know ahead of time that it’s hard for you to be around cheerful people right now, that you may need to leave early or cry unexpectedly.
   
If you are grieving too deeply and celebrating is not an option, remember the 3Cs: choice, communication and compromise. Give yourself permission to choose what specific things you want to do, and who you want to be with. Communicate your thoughts and feelings about those choices with loved ones, especially those also affected by the loss. Finally, be open to compromising with family and friends on all issues. 

Instead of trying to push back memories of the person you are grieving this holiday, ask friends and family members to share recollections with you in photographs, stories and mementos.
   
Find ways to include the loved one in your celebrations.

Some examples:

1) Nightly, light a holiday-scented memorial candle near a framed photo or photo collage. The symbol of light in darkness reminds us that there is hope.

2)  Put a place setting at the dinner table where the loved one always sat. Putting a single flower on the plate and leaving an empty glass will signify presence of spirit.

3) Make a special ornament or decoration that includes a memento or photo of your loved one. If children are grieving too, have them create artwork to display.

4) When alone in a safe place, relax with holiday tea or other favorite beverage, and talk out loud to your loved one, expressing your innermost thoughts and feelings. When finished, offer a prayer or a toast. 
   
Above all, trust that you will make it through the holidays this year. Even with the differences, you will find the experience bittersweet. Trust that while the season will be tinged with many emotions, you will be able to celebrate more fully in the future. 

There also are ways to help someone else who is grieving. Holidays are about love, and there’s no better way to show your love at this time than to just be there for the friend or family member on their terms; let them grieve in their own way and on their own time.

You can help by encouraging them to talk about their grief and share memories of the loved one who died. Also, refer to their loved one by name; it’s comforting to the grieving individual to hear. Listen to their story. Hold their hand. Sit with them as they cry. Offer help with holiday chores or daily activities. Respect their decision to not attend celebrations, and their need to be alone. Be supportive, and encourage them to find support outside of their social circle.

Written by: Marilyn Chapla


Terry

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Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2013, 01:15:04 PM »
"The First Christmas After a Death" --Susan Dunn

1. When we grieve we have no energy.

Decisions are hard to make, the smallest chore seems monumental, ordinarily joyous things are not, things that used to bother you don’t bother you any more, you don’t defend yourself well, to pretend takes too much effort, and you need lots of rest.

“She is seeking the solace of sleep,” my sister would tell people who called.

Nothing matters. The oven goes out, dinner has to be canceled and you have to reconvene in a restaurant. You wonder why something like that would upset the others so much.

2. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Do what you know you should do. Think of a time when it mattered, if necessary – supplements, eating right, rest, talking to someone, keeping your obligations manageable, getting exercise.

Your immune system will be run down. Outsource it. Therapy and support groups bolster your immune system.

3. You can cancel Christmas if you want to.

Sleep, take a walk, or study something intellectual to get your mind off emotional things.

4. You can also change the venue.

One woman took her grown kids downtown to a hotel and they celebrated there.

5. People want to help you and they don’t know how.

Nothing will really help. You just want them back. But let others “do something”. If they ask and you can’t think of anything, ask them to “do something”. They’ll figure it out. Everyone knows houses must be cleaned, dogs walked, groceries bought, and meals prepared.

6. Alcohol doesn’t help anything.

7. Explain what you need.

Say, “If I get up and leave the table, just let me go. I’ll be OK. I’ll come back when I’m ready.”

8. You might get some relief helping others – serving dinner to the homeless, or buying gifts for a family in need.

Then again you might not, but at least you’ll have wasted some time.

9. What will you do with their Christmas stocking?

One woman set out her husband’s Christmas stocking with a journal beside it for visitors to write in it. Another woman slept with her daughter’s stocking under her pillow.

10. Avoid malls.

You see things you would buy for the one who is gone, you see the happy couples when you are no longer a couple, you see the cherubic face of a little boy who looks like the one you lost.

You hear the music. Even a little is too much. Remember you can turn the radio and television off.

In the words of a caring friend of mine, “Have a Christmas.” You may be hard put to supply the adjective, and that’s okay. If you choose to observe the day, “Have a Christmas,” and understand that those who slip and tell you, “Well, I hope you have a Merry Christmas,” don’t know what they’re saying.

The “firsts” are difficult – the first anniversary, the first birthday, the first Valentine’s Day, the first fall, summer, spring and winter.

“How odd,” you may think, when the first snow falls in the first winter after, or when the first daffodil blooms in the first spring after. “How odd that’s the same when the most important things are not.”

Prescriptions and predictions are annoying. Time does heal many people and it becomes less raw with time; however, if that time does come, it comes at its own pace. Be forgiving of yourself and others, and, well, have a Christmas. Or don’t. One way or another that particular day will pass and you will have survived your first Christmas without them.

Together our group had a holiday memorial to our loved ones, lighting the 4 candles in the Advent wreath. No one knows who wrote the prayer, but here it is:

A HOLIDAY MEMORIAL FOR [YOUR LOVED ONE]

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage – to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

And then you can say their name.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 01:16:51 PM by Terry »