Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful, or Difficult Time of the Year?

It's that time again. The holidays. That time when we are bombarded by images of happy, intact families. Traditional roles are front and center, with Grandma in the kitchen, Grandpa bouncing a child on his knee, and everyone in every ad has the obligatory attractive spouse and 2 children working blissfully together. In their perfect kitchen. Making perfect cookies. No wonder liquor sales spike this time of year! I suspect it's not all celebratory sales. It's alcohol for drowning our feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and that familiar monster, grief.

Anyone dealing with loss understands. When it's difficult to get through an ordinary day, high-pressure events can feel like torture. Even years after the loss of a family member, their absence is never so obvious as during a family holiday gathering. Whether it's the man who no longer carves the turkey, the woman who's not there to bake her famous pies, or anyone else, these days can re-open old wounds.

Here's my holiday wish for all of us who are surviving grief-

May we find comfort in our memories, make peace with our loss, and experience joy without guilt.

(And I wouldn't mind a few of those perfect cookies!)


  1. Such a nice wish...spoken by someone who understands.

  2. Thank you, Chelsea. Given the work you do, that means so much!

  3. I'm glad I found your blog...I lost my 34 year old daughter in June, 2009.

    There is no recovery, just coping.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. So young! I'm glad you're here, too. I agree, BTW. We don't recover so much as we learn to live in this new normal. Several people described this beautifully in the book, some who lost a child. One mom recently said she finds purpose in living by finding ways to honor her daughter's memory and making sure she is not forgotten.

    I wish you peace.


When someone dies, (other than attending the service), I do this for the family-