It's getting into the holiday season. It's a joyous, wonderful, tinsel-covered time. And it makes many of us more despondent than any other time of year.
I personally find myself holding on to grief of those I've lost, thinking this is the only way I can keep them near. I have the mindset that, if I smile, I'm not honoring their memories and I'm letting them slip away.
But I am trying something new this year. This year I'm focusing on realizing that I don't keep them alive in practicing the same traditions or thinking about what things "were better" then. I don't keep them alive by wallowing in thoughts of how things would be if they were still here.
My goal this year is to smile when I speak of them. I need to tell the good stories, not the horror stories of episodes in those final difficult years. I will try to lessen the knee-jerk reactions of the PTSD of caregiving years and replace it with more positive behaviors, like good deeds and shiny new traditions.
But I will also stop feeling crazy about asking their advice at difficult times. I'll ask and listen for the answer. Because their voices are still here. It doesn't matter whether I feel that voice comes directly from them or from the years of lessons they taught me. Their wisdom and love lives on. That's what they'd want remembered. That's what I need to draw upon.
I've been looking for resources and found an excellent one here:
This article includes ideas and links that can really help as we grieve the ones we have lost.
This whole adjustment to my mindset is a work in progress. I just thought some of the things I felt might be helpful to those of you dealing with grief during the holidays.
Let's stay connected, okay?