If You Are Sad This Hanukah, Christmas, and Holiday Season

 

We all know how losing a friend or family member is devastating.

About the only thing as bad as losing a friend or family member, is having the grief surrounding that loss be draped across your Entire Being during Hanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s. All around you are brightly lit stores and homes, festive activities on the Church, synagogue, and school calendars, plus parties at work and over at neighbors’ and friends’ homes.

Sometimes if the loss is not recent, an individual will carefully work through their grief, and it seems to be ebbing away, but then the holidays nudge that grief into resurfacing.

Always remember to be patient with yourself. If you can bring yourself to do this, please consider confiding in a friend or family member about it being a struggle. Or schedule an appointment with a therapist.

There is no formula or schedule for grief. It can last a lifetime, and yet never seem to diminish a bit. Or it can be conquered slowly but surely. Never let anyone tell you, “You should be over that by now.” Yes, certain behaviors related to the loss should cease — no one wants to see a family member or friend remain an alcoholic or continue using drugs, prescription or otherwise, as a permanent feature of the grieving person’s life. But some people cannot shake their grief even over time. The goal then is to let some of the sun in, for that sun to offer its light among the clouds, even if for them, it will never again be a fully bright summer day.

Twelve-step programs are up and running at this time of year. Usually, if you have a phone book or can use a computer, you can find an Alcoholics Anonymous Group with a working phone number. The individual who answers will give you a list of meetings, their times, and locations. (Although you might need to leave word with an answering machine.) Someone there can guide you to a different group if your problem is related to drugs or more of the “Adult Children of Alcoholics” style of program.

Hang in there. Be careful to remember that other people, even those whose lives seem intact, might be facing the same demon you are facing. Perhaps their marriage is crumbling, although it looks good on the surface. Or maybe they too are wrestling with loss, which might have first affected them decades ago. You are not nuts for being unable to respond to holiday cheer. Most of us are not gonna find a Lexus out in our driveway on Dec 25th, wrapped up with a red ribbon, with the new car surrounded by a happy barking Golden Retriever and exuberant family members. (For those here who will have this wonderful kind of Christmas, congratulations, and may your world stay intact ’til the end of your days.)

If you are grief-free, try to think of anyone in your inner circle who might be putting on a bright, cheerful face. One year back in the 1990s, I had a friend who was planning a huge Halloween Party. She had lost the love of her life two years earlier, but this party would coincide with her 35th birthday. She let all of us know that it was being meticulously planned for maximum fun. When I didn’t get an invitation by the 25th or so of that October, I called her parents. They revealed that she had committed suicide one week earlier. It had never dawned on me that all her blabbing about the big exciting party was her attempt to follow the instructions that her crappy therapist had laid down for her: “Get your grieving done within two years.” The day she killed herself was two years and one day past the anniversary of her sweetheart’s death.

If you need some extra support and quickly, there are national and regional suicide help lines. I believe my friend would have made it, if she had reached out to anyone close to her, instead of thinking that she had to keep her grief bottled up inside. Apparently, as the two-year anniversary crept ever closer, she felt it was wrong to still be grieving. After all, she was approaching the magical two-year mark and the therapist she trusted had stated: “normal people move on by the two-year mark.”

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  1. ShaunaHunt Coolidge
    ShaunaHunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    Thank you! My mom died four years ago and the Holidays are still hard.

    • #1
  2. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    My wife’s father died on Christmas day (several years before we met).

    It’s always added just a touch of melancholy to the family get-together.

     

     

     

    • #2
  3. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Thanks. Those who pray, please pray for my friend Nancy, whose husband, my old friend, Wayne, died Dec. 7th. 

     

     

    • #3
  4. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    God holds those that are grieving in the palm of His hand so take these verses to heart and hold on to them:

    Psalm 34:18:  They cry in anguish and Yahweh hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. Yahweh is near to the brokenhearted, He helps those whose spirit is crushed. 

    Psalm 118:6:  In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered and set me free. The Lord is with me,  I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  The LORD is on my side. 

    Thank you Carol, for thinking of those in distress and giving good advice. This is the first Christmas my husband and his family will ever experience without their mother, who passed in April.  She was our last remaining parent.  We will be together at least since we are hosting the meal.  God bless.

     

    • #4
  5. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    My neighbor two doors away in our town house building grandson died yesterday at the age of 21. It appears to have been caused by a GI tract blood bleed during the night. He was visiting Grandma from college. The whole bloc is  devastated .

    • #5
  6. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    Excellent and timely post: thank you.

    • #6
  7. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    If you are sad or grieving any time, join the Divine Help group here on Ricochet, and you will have the power of many prayers behind you, and helping you lift yourself up.  Believe me, they work.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Very thoughtful and timely. Thank you.

    • #8
  9. Zed11 Inactive
    Zed11
    @Zed11

    December is always a rough month, my mother died in ’16, girlfriend’s mother a few years before that. 

    And normally I’d never solicit for any social media goodwill, but last weekend I helped construct a GoFundMe page for an Oregon family that was recently devastated by the loss of a son (who was engaged, a step-daughter in high school). Has been a surreal week. If anyone feels like throwing this link into the ether on their platforms, spreading the word, huge thanks.

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/funeral-amp-family-fund-following-death-of-ryan-rowe

    • #9
  10. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    ShaunaHunt (View Comment):

    Thank you! My mom died four years ago and the Holidays are still hard.

    You are so young to have to deal with such a loss. In our modern era, most of us end up with parents who are there for us as we start our families, raise the kids, send them off to college, and often these  grand parents are still there to help us marry the kids off even  as they celebrate their 70th or 80th birthdays.

    I suspect many of your friends are still innocent of how heavy a burden this is for you. Once your friends have also suffered the loss of a parent, they will understand your plight. But in the meantime, especially if siblings or the remaining parent are too much in their own grief to help you, be good to yourself. (As trite as that sounds.)

    So even if it is just to talk, you might consider seeing a therapist so you can tell your story to someone.

    Often the “oldest” child in the family also feels vulnerable. This oldest child is sometimes not the oldest in the chronological sense, but in the sense of being more responsible and filling in the gaps where things have fallen astray. It is rather like there is a chart inside our brains reminding us that as long as the parents are there, Death will come for them first. If a parent dies, then who stands between the oldest child and Death? The brain tells that individual  “you are next.”

    Again, be good to yourself this holiday season and may there be some needed sun among the clouds.

    • #10
  11. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    Zed11 (View Comment):

    December is always a rough month, my mother died in ’16, girlfriend’s mother a few years before that.

    And normally I’d never solicit for any social media goodwill, but last weekend I helped construct a GoFundMe page for an Oregon family that was recently devastated by the loss of a son (who was engaged, a step-daughter in high school). Has been a surreal week. If anyone feels like throwing this link into the ether on their platforms, spreading the word, huge thanks.

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/funeral-amp-family-fund-following-death-of-ryan-rowe

    I am sorry for   your double losses. To lose the energy of both moms is a hard road for both of you to walk.

    And how wonderful that you have set up this Go Fund Me for the Ryan Rowe funeral. Santa has been good – I think that fund sounds like a nice place to start giving back.

    • #11
  12. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    If you are sad or grieving any time, join the Divine Help group here on Ricochet, and you will have the power of many prayers behind you, and helping you lift yourself up. Believe me, they work.

    I didn’t realize this group existed. Thank you for bringing it to people’s attention.

    • #12
  13. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Thank you for this.  My wife died in June, still trying to pick up the pieces.   It has been a hard Christmas for me this year.  

    • #13
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