On this Christmas evening, I’m sitting with my family all relaxing together after a memorable day and eve.
We’ve shared wonderful food, delicious desserts, fun gifts and so much laughter our sides hurt. There is something about spending time with my family when we goof around with each other, making each other scream and double-over with laughter.
Today was especially memorable as my niece became engaged. Her fiance, in front of all of us, so calmly and with such tenderness, expressed his love for her, recounting the moment he knew for certain she was the one for him, and then asked her to marry him.
Everyone reached for their phones to video the event and my niece was so overjoyed, she beamed. She could barely stand still she was so excited.
And then the ring…a beautiful little blue box from Tiffany. She is thrilled.
At that point it became a frenzy of all the relatives and friends we must call to share the wonderful news. Everyone was asking the other, “Did we call Uncle Harold, and Aunt Fran and Aunt Millie.”
Calls to Hawaii, Long Island, Philadelphia, Korea, Miami…just so much fun hearing their reactions.
And on the flip side, at this time of year, I am so thoughtful and reflective about all the people I know and even may never meet, who won’t have this type of excitement during the holidays.
Not just folks who may have experienced a loved one’s death, but those who simply do not have family or friends nearby to celebrate, hug, dine with, laugh with and just have the opportunity to be with family and friends.
A piece of my heart hurts for their loneliness this day. It always does. I guess because I’ve been there.
I remember times when I wasn’t near my family over Christmas. Times when our grief was so overwhelming that we actually felt worse to be with family. They were laughing and having a good time while I was feeling so horrible inside that we just couldn’t share the day with them.
I felt so alone, so lonely, so out of place, so unsettled. I couldn’t calm my emotions so it was easier to stay away than to participate.
As time went on, I became emotionally stronger and could deal with everyone’s happiness because I had then allowed myself to feel happiness again for longer periods of time. And eventually, my joy returned as I realized me being unhappy because the persons I loved were no longer with me, wasn’t doing me any good at all. Martyrdom is a horrible by-product of grief that we somehow instill in ourselves and never helps us at all.
So my heart today is with the happiness of my niece and new nephew, but also all those who feel alone whether physically away from family and friends, or spiritually away as a result of a loved one’s death.
I wish you serenity and comforting memories of wonderful times you enjoyed with them in the past.
Remember…no one can take those delightful memories from you…ever.
All you need do is close your eyes and envision them with great clarity to lift your spirits.
You have the power to shift, even if for only a few moments at a time, from grief to comfort, grief to calm, grief to joy, grief to laughter. You can make that happen for yourself…at any time you choose.
So do have a lovely Christmas and holiday season. I am holding you in my heart.