"...to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."
Isaiah 61:2b-3

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas and other Holidays/special occasions

Christmas is pretty much here. With it comes celebrating and people with lots of excitement and happiness. But what about those who have lost loved ones? This can be a time, not of excitement and happiness, but a time of grieving and missing that special person. I'm with you on that one. Those close to me see my excitement of celebrating Christmas. I love the Christmas traditions, giving (and receiving) gifts, the music, and the decorations. That's on the outside anyway....inside I have thoughts of:

"How old would my children be?"
"What would I get them for Christmas, Birthday, Easter, etc.?"
"What would they be like today?"
"What would life be like if they had lived?"
"Who would they look like most?"

...and so on and so on. The questions and "what-ifs" are endless. Some of you may have gotten to know your children for just a short while. Some of you are like me, you never got to meet that precious life. No matter the situation the loss is real, and don't ever let anyone tell you what you should and shouldn't be feeling. Here are some things that I try to do to make it through the tough holidays (due date anniversaries, anniversaries of deaths, and other occasions):

1.) Let yourself cry. God made us with tear ducts for a reason. (The Bible says that Jesus cried) Tears are cleansing. Don't be afraid to let it all out. Having a good shoulder to cry on is even better, so if you have one in a spouse, relative, or good friend, use them. I doubt they will mind.

2.) If you don't have a special way that you've memorialized your baby/child, I would recommend doing so. I have special mementos that I keep and even a slide show with pictures of angel babies with the names and dates of my "angels." Sometimes it seems as if others forget our loss too easily, and in doing this they can "live on" with us. I even had a small memorial service with my family (spouse, mom, dad, and my siblings). I shared poems, songs, and Bible verses and had my special mementos on a table in front. I videotaped it and now keep it with my slide show.

3.) Don't seclude yourself. It's so easy to shut the world out and have a good pity party alone. Yes, it's good to have time to yourself, but getting out gives you energy, and you might even be able to find some fun out there. Even if it's just for a short time, it will still help. Be careful of places that might intensify your grief. When I'm grieving, the last place I go is a baby shower or through the baby section of Walmart.

4.) Give a gift to someone. Giving is such a "warm-fuzzy giver." What do I mean? It seems to lighten someones spirits to give a gift to a special person. To see their face is priceless...and even if it's only for a moment, we find true joy. And when we see their face and feel this joy, we might just get "warm-fuzzy's" all over. It may not take away our loss, but it helps a little.

5.) If you are a Christian and know the Lord, don't forget to read His Word and talk with Him. He understands your loss (He gave His only Son on the Cross). I think it's pretty normal to be angry with Him for your loss, and I think He even understands. Tell Him about it. You won't shock Him to tell Him that you are angry. Communication is the key to a great relationship, and at least for me, He's the only reason I've made it this far in life. I can't imagine life without a relationship with Him. I can't make it without Him. Hold tight to Him and never let go.

Ok, these are just things that I try to do for myself. You can try them all or you can pick the ones that help you. You may even come up with some other ideas. I would love to hear them if you are willing to share.

I know that this season can be hard. But remember, I'm here for you and though our situations and even our emotions about it are different, we at least have an idea of what the other might be going through. Remember, nobody can tell you how you have to grieve. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Eventually I might post what I learned about the stages of grief from when I went to counseling. You might not feel it but I'll say it anyway...
...Merry Christmas to you.

Heavenly Father, I just pray right now for your arms to be around those who grieve in this holiday season (and other times through the year). You are the God of comfort and some of us really need it now. I pray that we could experience true joy even when we aren't feeling "warm-fuzzy's" with it. I do thank you for the Christmas season, that we could celebrate your Son's birth and reflect on the reason that He came to earth. To take our sins upon Himself and offer us eternal life. Thank you, Lord. In Your Name,

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