Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15
I think I struck a nerve with yesterday's post about the loss of a loved one. Several people commented publicly and privately on their emotion of loss at the holidays. Some commented with their loss being very fresh, and others have a year or two under their belt. A few more birthdays...a few more Christmas's...more distance between the pain of the loss and the present.
I find myself nearly two years post loss of my Mom. This time of the year is what I remember being the beginning of the end for her. I wasn't sure she would make Thanksgiving, and 1 week before Christmas I was really thinking she would not live to see it. I took many many pictures over those last 2 years...I wanted to be able to hold on to her, remember her, see her face when she was gone. Her voice is still on the answering machine when you call their house. You might think that is creepy, but I find it very comforting because it reminds me of a time when life was "normal."
It seems that many people who have lost a loved one yearn for that old "normal" but those days are gone forever. One piece of advice I can offer is to create a "new normal" for you and your family. There is nothing wrong with incorporating past traditions into your "new normal," but part of life is growing and changing and you cannot expect everything to be as it was before your loss.
Decades ago when my first husband left us, I knew I had to create new traditions for me and for the kids. I recognized life went on and while I was devastated at the turn of events I knew it was best to move forward with living as fully as I could manage. Many of the traditions I began with the kids have endured over these 20 plus years and none of us would change that.
Make new traditions with those who are left behind. Even in my family of origin we have begun to make some small changes in our celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year was awkward, and I literally burst into tears after cleaning up the Thanksgiving dinner but this year (we celebrated early) it was very good. I am anticipating Christmas will also be fine, as we will do things differently again from last year.
Cherish those memories and when possible blend the old with the new. Celebrate the life and the love that you have for the person who has gone before you, for that is the best testimony you can give about them. Make new memories...continue to grow and change in Christ.