One of the things that stands out in my mind, after losing my dad 6 years ago, was how hard that first year was after his death. I refer to this in my head as the Year of Firsts. With both the approaching dates of our daughters first birthday, as well as the one year mark for when we lost our nephew, my family has once again found ourselves in a Year of Firsts. How bittersweet it has been.
There is truly nothing harder than that first year after loosing someone so close to you. Holidays especially hold a bit of an emptiness to them, as you find yourself going through the motions with nothing to fill the space where a loved one used to stand. Traditions change, lights remain dark, as we stumble around trying to find our new normal. I ran across this statement today, which sparked the urge to write this:
If we don’t transform our pain we will just transmit it.
How profoundly true, and what a hard truth. Everyone grieves and rejoices differently and needs to be allowed to do so. However, I know I am guilty of passing my junk on to the ones I love most. It has been a learning process but I feel I truly am on a path of learning to be at peace with who I am and where I am at. This is something we can all do and I fear that if we don’t, we are just going to continue transmitting the junk we have to others. This world does not need anymore junk!
We have in turn, been fortunate this year to have had to clear out some junk to make space in our lives for a new person. Charlie has kept me grounded and given me purpose over this past year; a year that has tested my marriage, my friendships and more. I am so grateful for her place in my life! She has filled a hole in my life that I didn’t even know was there. Her big heart and strong personality just flow from her little body.
I am also blessed to be in touch with my faith. To a point that I feel I can rejoice a bit in both my blessings and my sorrows. This is the season, so many years ago, when our Father sent his Son to save us all! To give us someone we could see and touch, to lay our path to heaven; where we we will be able gather as a whole family again. Where all of our lost loved ones are waiting. Where we can celebrate together forever as kings and queens. What a gift this is! The true meaning of Christmas is so often lost in what our society has become.
I invite you all to take a moment, regardless of your religious beliefs, and stop telling yourself that “you will be happy when….” To reflect on the giving you are doing this season. To stop seeking happiness in materialistic things and rejoice in the good that is in front of you. To take joy in your children, your spouse, your family and friends…the loved ones who are still here. For they might not be here tomorrow.
Take a moment to think about what you will want from your deathbed. Are you going to wish you had more time to spend on Facebook? Or maybe watch one more episode of your favorite show? Or are you going to wish you had put down your phone and read your child more stories? Or that you had slowed down and taken the time to hug your spouse? I already wish I had more time with my loved ones and I try to remind myself of this often.
So to all of you out there suffering or rejoicing in a Year of Firsts; May your hearts be open to see through the holiday stress to find peace and happiness in the moments that are right in front of you. To those of you who are specifically suffering a loss; I wish I could tell you that it gets easier. But that is not the right choice of words. I feel more like you just get used to it. You do find and settle into your new normal. And to those of you who are fortunate enough to believe in the wonderful Christmas gift our Father gave to us, then rest assured. You know you will see them again.