During this time of year, I often think back to one of the first posts I wrote (Enough for “the Holidays”). That post speaks to the dichotomy around so many of us this time of the year – scarcity (time, resources, sanity) and excess (spending, eating, commitments). That post encourages us to think deeply about what really matters and not to waste our time, energy, and resources on activities that don’t really add joy to our lives.
This Christmas season the dichotomy has struck me in another way. Amid the joy and celebrations there are many who also experience much heartache.
In the past few months, I have lost three people who were important to me. One to suicide, one to a tragic accident, and one just this week to unexpected illness. All so young and vibrant, with so much life yet to be lived. Two of them left little ones behind. All three made the world a better place just by being in it.
As I look at the gifts yet to be wrapped, the sting of loss pierces my heart. I would gladly give up all of the holiday trappings to have any one of those lives back with us. It has been a hard week; a hard few months. It seems so surreal to watch the world go on around me while my heartache is so very real.
For some of us, “the holidays” will never be the same again. We join countless others of you who grieve in the shadows this time of year. So, to those who grieve I say, “pace yourself, be kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid to hold unapologetically to your Enough point – the place where you find your least amount of pain and your greatest amount of joy at this time of year, whatever that may be. As one of those I lost this fall would say, friend, “you do you”. Let go of unrealistic and unhealthy expectations. Drop “woulda, coulda, shoulda” from your vocabulary. Take a deep breath. Cry when you need to and rest when your body or soul says to rest.
And, to everyone else, I ask that you please have grace and compassion for all who have heartache for the holidays.