Holidays and other special days are always a challenge for those who have lost loved ones. This is especially true for the first few years after this loss. The first year is usually the toughest year. However, I know for me the third Christmas after losing my husband was my hardest one. We are all different, and, of course, we all grieve differently. There is no set rule or way to know exactly how each of us will react with these special days.
My husband’s birthday was October 10th. I have realized, with some help from one of my daughters, that my emotions started churning around that time every year. Hunting season follows with everyone talking about hunting, their deer, and adventures. My husband loved to hunt, so my emotions churn more. The hunting leads into Thanksgiving, and then of course, Christmas. I also lost my son in an accident on January 2nd, 1996. It is after that time passes, that everything will starts to go back to normal within me.
For the first couple years of my husband’s passing, I was fully aware of my grief and tried to control my thoughts and emotions. This year, my fourth year, it seems my sub conscious has taken over. I am no longer consciously thinking about a certain day, like his birthday. I start to get emotional and ask myself why. It’s only then that I realize it was in my sub conscience! How do you gain control over that? That’s something I have yet to learn. However, there are many other things I have learned. Our heart does control our emotions and our conscience, but it also is the place where our faith lives. It is because of my faith in God, that I can continue going forward, step by step.
There are many things that we can control. Thankfulness is one of many things that is a choice. If we choose to be thankful in all circumstances, we will be able to lighten our steps.
You may ask what you have to be thankful for.
I am thankful for the basic things; my immediate family, my church family, God’s provisions, and too many things to enumerate. If you struggle to be thankful for these things right now, we have many other things to hold onto and to add to our list of blessings. Psalm 136 lists many things we are to give thanks for: that God is good, His mercy endureth forever, for His wonderful works to the children of men. Only He can satisfy the longing in our souls for perfect peace. On the top of all of these things is the gift of God’s Son to make a way of salvation for us.
These are the things I want to consciously think about during this Christmas time. God’s gift to my son and his girlfriend almost 19 years ago was to allow them to enter into His glory. He also allowed my husband that same gift over three years ago. God’s goodness endureth forever. He saw fit to leave me here to “hold the fort.” I’m thankful that He’ll never leave me alone. He’s with me daily. I need only to reach out and take His hand. I can have peace and joy even in the midst of missing my son and husband.
You can have this peace and joy as well if you accept the greatest gift of all, God’s son. I pray you will reach out to Him over these holidays.
Please contact me if you need help in doing so. Merry CHRISTmas! Kathy

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4 thoughts on “Holidays

  1. This is my third passing through of our family’s birthday-holiday season. Having four children, our season always went from June through March with a birthday or special family holiday in each month. The first time through after my husband passed away I deliberately changed up some of the traditions on purpose so that there wouldn’t be as much comparison to past years…to hopefully prevent some of the sadness and emptiness. I have to say that for us, this worked. We have mixed it up some more and have been able to bring back some things we did in the past. It is still about adjusting to the new normal of our lives now but I find that we are beginning to be able to talk about some things from the past or mention what my husband would think or say now a little easier. We are like flower buds beginning to bloom and while we still are feeling tightly wound overall, there are parts of us that have opened up…and it is encouraging. Without meaning to sound cliche, I can look back and see that we have come a long way from where we started in May 2011. God has been faithful through all of this even when we have acted out on our own through our struggles. (deep sigh!) It has been and continues to be a roller coaster ride for all 5 of us but we are beginning to see more smooth curves and straight track between the exaggerated and wild spins and twists along the way. We have grown even closer as a family and I love this part of our tapestry.

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  2. This is our second Christmas with out my Sister. I noticed too that around Halloween my misery intensified about daily until Thanksgiving. I’ve been having panic attacks all week. The stress of trying to prepare a nice Christmas for everyone else while I am so deep in grief has been overwhelming. Thanks for your enlightening post. I think I just need to take a step back and be thankful for my kiddos and blessings. Thanks for sharing your story.

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