“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”-Psalm 34:18 NIV*
For me, it is so easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season. I love to watch cheesy Christmas movies, go shopping and buy presents, and curl up on the couch under a blanket with some hot cocoa. Okay, living in southern Louisiana maybe it is curl up with some iced tea and running the air conditioner on high. But, as I move through the holidays, there is a corner of my heart which is melancholy and raw. I can’t help but think of my loved ones who are not here to celebrate Christmas with me and the family. Why can’t my grief take a holiday during this wonderful time of year?
Unfortunately, grief doesn’t take a break. For me, I can experience happiness and sorrow at the same time. I know what an oxymoron, but it is the best way to describe it. I want to remember and honor those who have died and enjoy the family and friends I do have here physically with me. It is indeed a balancing act which I don’t always handle gracefully.
I have experienced feelings of emptiness and solitude during my journey, especially around the holidays. In a previous blog, Grief Completes Me, I shared some of my thoughts about my grief journey and what I accept as true in my life:
- I will not “complete” grief – It has been almost seventeen years since my husband died and three years since my father passed. When I lose someone or comfort someone who lost a loved one, I feel the same intense deep, raw, pain and sadness. It will forever be a part of me, and I have become more compassionate with others because of my losses. I know what to expect in my feelings, and guess what? I know I will not feel this way each day and the intensity will subside, until the next time.
- I am not alone – There is a huge difference between being alone and feeling lonely. I am not alone in my grief, but in the middle of grief, I can feel lonely. I know the loneliness is only temporary and I talk with others who feel the same way, so it validates for me, I am not alone. God is with me, every step of my life. He knows my pain and works through it with me. Surrounding me with others such as a grief group was the support I needed to connect with others with similar circumstances. It is a reminder all people embark on a grief journey at some point in their lives.
- It is okay to grieve anytime – I know some individuals are uncomfortable around people who are experiencing a loss. I have come to the conclusion if I need to cry, it is okay to cry in private or public and release my emotions. I actually feel better after a cry fest and it allows me to refresh and renew. When I need to grieve, I do it. No apologies. No holding back. I let it out and know God is also grieving with me. God knows grief. As humans, we have grieved Him many times with our actions. In addition, He watched His Son sacrifice and die for our sins. I know He is an expert in this field and can totally relate to my circumstances.
Perhaps you are sad and burdened with grief during this holiday season. My hope is for you to realize you are not alone. God is always with you and you can turn your pain and sorrow over to Him to handle. If you invite Him into your heart, He can give you peace and comfort during this difficult time.
I have been there; brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. God has placed it on my heart to reach out to those hurting from the loss of a loved one. This is why I write about grief and have a prayer request on my blog. If you need some support, please feel free to send me a request so I can pray for you. Blessings to you, and praying for a peaceful new year.
*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society