As I was thinking about Holiday Grief and what might be a helpful topic at Christmas, I was listening to one of my favorite, non-traditional Christmas songs, “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake (a member of the 70’s British Rock Bank – Emerson, Lake & Palmer). Part of the lyrics struck me:
I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
My family suffered a loss this year. My father-in-law, Robert “Bob” Kanoy, died unexpectedly on July 30, 2012. As I think of our unexpected loss and how different Thanksgiving was, and Christmas will be, these words resonate with me.
I do wish for a hopeful Christmas…
That does not mean I expect Christmas to be without tearful moments, without moments of emptiness as we recognize the void in our family. The makeup of our family has changed – there is a empty chair in our home.
Grief does not just get put on hold for the holidays. We must deal with our Holiday Grief and recognize that while we may sometimes feel alone and isolated, there are other members of our family are also feeling this loss — they too are grieving.
As our family gathers this year, we can honor and celebrate Bob by sharing memories and stories. We will have to decide which traditions to continue, and which traditions we may want to put on hold or change. This will be different for every family.
I do wish for a brave new year…
I hope that we can all realize that it is OK to be joyful, even as we still grieve the loss of our husband/father/grandfather.
We are a Christian family, and we celebrate the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, our Savior. There is JOY in the WORLD because Jesus is our HOPE at Christmas.
As we pass through the holidays, we must remember that our Holiday Grief will not just end on December 26th. When the calendar takes our journey to other “first” anniversaries without Bob, we will continue to feel the pain of our loss. As we begin to heal in our hearts, we learn to live without Bob and incorporate his absence into our lives. It’s not a matter of just waking up one day and being “better” or “cured” of our grief.
Our memories and stories will eventually become a cherished part of our lives, as we remember the love and life we shared.
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear…
Sometimes we can not seem to see the end of the road when we are surrounded by our grief.
When will the anguish, pain and sadness leave our hearts and let our road be clear?
For each of us, the process will be different. We are each on a journey and have to take our own path to healing.
As I end this post, I would like to share a Christmas Prayer, and at the bottom of the post you will find the YouTube Video of I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake, if you would like to hear the song that inspired this post.
A Christmas Prayer
Father in heaven, please bless our family this Christmas as we struggle to see all the joy in the world.
Be present with us as we laugh and cry.
Lord, help us find comfort and give us peace in our hearts, as we know that Bob is celebrating with you this Christmas.
Thank you for your Christmas gift to us, the promise of Salvation through your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
We ask that you bless all those who are grieving this Christmas, that they too may be comforted and come to know you.
In your name we pray.