“Those we love never truly leave us. There are things death cannot touch.”Jack Thorne
Rewind time back to 2010 – the year my dad died and the first set of holidays without him by our side. Each day that passed was challenging, let alone a group of holidays which seemed so empty. My dad was a staple of the these special family days, especially Christmas. Some of the things I remember are the massive breakfasts he would make Christmas morning, as well as him setting up the video recorder the night before to tape us unwrapping each of our gifts.
These are memories that will never fade. Cancer cannot take these memories from me, like it took my dad. But, sometimes these memories, can hurt and be debilitating because they are just that – memories. I cannot go hug my dad Christmas morning and thank him for everything he has done. And this – no matter how many years go by – is still hard to overcome. The emptiness never fully goes away. It is just something you learn to manage.
It took years to get here but now I try to picture my dad here at Christmas, just in a different form. I see him sitting in the living room with a huge smile on his face watching us with joy. While we cannot communicate or hold each other, he nods to us acknowledging his presence. He is now an angel that overlooks us, keeping us safe and together. He would be so proud of how far we have all come.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one this year, check on them – call them, send them a letter, text them a simple “love you!” message. Most likely they are not okay. It takes years to learn how to manage that emptiness.
If you are the one who lost someone, whether it was this year or not, it is important to acknowledge how you feel and then do something about it. Celebrate your loved one in a way that will be healing to you. I went to visit my dad’s grave and I also wrote letters to him. Maybe you make a special ornament or you plant a tree in their honor. Whatever it is, make it memorable and don’t be afraid to say you need support. It is okay to hurt, just don’t let it consume you. Your loved one would not want that for you.
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