Grief and the Holidays

There are three critical things I’ve learned about grief:

1) It gets worse at certain times.

2) It’s different for everyone.

3) To help, you have to listen and observe, and act on what you learn.

I’m not the expert on grief. My wife knows a great deal more. In September we passed the 10th anniversary of James’s death. It wasn’t fun. You think after 10 years you might be done. Besides, as I said, it’s different for everyone, and anniversaries haven’t been my worst moments. Until this year. Let me be encouraging here. You don’t forget the one you’ve lost, but you do learn to live with your new normal. I actually find both elements of that encouraging. I don’t want to forget James. I doubt I’m in any danger of doing so in any case. But at the same time, I need to learn to live with reality as it is now.

As Christmas approaches we’ll remember how much he liked having some decorations and activity related to the holidays. He also loved to both give and receive gifts. Those are great memories.

For many people, this is the worst season precisely because of those memories. If you are living through grief, remember to take care of yourself. If you know people who are missing loved ones at this season, be there for them. Listen, learn, and when it’s helpful, act.

As I was preparing to write this, my wife commented that she had just written two cards that were very difficult to write. One responded to loss in a family. The other responded to great hardship. Those cards she sends out is one of the ways she helps share the burdens of those who grieve.

If you’d like to learn more about this, join her and Ron Higdon as they discuss grief in the holidays tomorrow night, Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 7 pm central time. The host will be Pastor Bob LaRochelle. Jody and Ron have each written books, and they know some of the things that help and some of the things that don’t. Don’t just wait for things to go wrong for yourself or those you love. Get equipped!

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