Tag Archives: death of loved one

First Christmas Without Your Loved One

After the death of someone close, no one holiday is more difficult to endure than Christmas.

Everyone around us is in the holiday spirit, buying gifts, decorating trees, baking cookies, arranging tables for dinner, cooking delicacies and family-guarded secret recipes. And while you may be participating in body, your soul just isn’t into it this year.

No surprise there. When your heart is aching for the loved one who is no longer near you, you try very hard to get into the Christmas spirit…to feel genuinely happy. But it doesn’t seem to be working.

If I could tell you just one thing today it would be this…it’s ok. No one said you must be overjoyed every single Christmas of your life.

We will go through peaks and valleys whether we like it or not. We will experience happy and sad times and if this is your first sad Christmas, it’s all new to you.

Those who have had other sad Christmases will tell you that they all can’t be perfect. Life hands us tough times and our job is to never forget those who go before us, yet find a way to still live our lives.

Some Christmases are just more painful than others. Some are filled with happy memories and maybe this Christmas you’ll see others enjoying themselves, but inside you, it’s not the same this year.

So if someone close to you died this year, just know you are allowed to feel sad, broken, unfocused, disinterested, jealous of others’ joy and intact families, loneliness, despair, anger, bitterness, frustration, depression.

I’ve been in your shoes before and it’s just miserable. And the only thing that helped even a little, was trying to remember the happy times spent with that individual. In an effort to keep them alive, I’d talk about them out loud. When we were at the dinner table, I’d start by saying, “Do you remember when…” and tell a funny story about them.

Now some family members were a bit silent when I began, because they weren’t sure how it would all go over. Exactly what is the grieving protocol during Christmas dinner anyway? Well whatever people imagine it should be, I usually broke that myth and kept going. I really didn’t care because somehow I didn’t have a very high tolerance for nonsense or other people’s opinions anymore.

And an interesting thing happened, the elephant left the room, people started to laugh at the stories, some added onto them, told their own stories and, yes, some folks even cried, but it didn’t matter. We were no longer worried about saying their name out loud nor were we walking on eggshells around each other. Those awkward silences and pauses had left with the elephant and boy, was I glad for that!

So if this happens to be your first Christmas down the grief path, don’t be so concerned about ‘doing the correct thing’ because nobody really knows what the correct thing is. Just open up because you’ll probably be the only one who has enough guts to start talking out loud about them and guaranteed, someone will thank you.

Mostly, you will feel better…and Christmas dinner will be much easier to bear.

Sending you love on this special day! xoxo

How It All Began

About a half hour ago my printer spontaneously circled as if to print a document, but none had been requested. Whenever something like this occurs, being so in tune to spiritual happenings, I sat back to wonder what this was about.

After asking out loud for clarity, it occurred to me that on this day thirty-six years ago I lost the first person who ever meant anything to me. The first person who had made such an impact on my life and who, unknowingly, would usher me into this field of study and my profession.

At the tender age of 12, while he was 15, the nephew of my neighbor and I became close friends and he ultimately became the first ‘crush’ I experienced. And while Paul and I were looked upon as ‘forbidden’ because of the differences of our age, he was such a wonderful guy and friend who I cared for deeply.

We’d play Iron Butterfly’s songs and scream the lyrics across the room, help me babysit little ones, watch him study the guitar and try to master difficult songs, taught me wonderful dance steps and just had lots of fun laughing at his funny jokes. And like teenagers do, we stayed on the phone much too long and wrote silly letters to each other.

As fate would have it, he and his family moved away and we became penpals back then. Both he and I went on to meet other wonderful people, but his life would forever impact mine a few years later.

On this day, April 14, 1974 Paul was hit broadside and killed by a drunk driver at the tender age of 19 while pulling out of his driveway. I knew he died in the late afternoon, but when the printer circled at 4:35pm something made me believe it could have been just then.

So I sat back in my chair and just had this simple conversation with him as if his spirit was surrounding me at this very moment. And even all these years later, I filled up with tears because I can still see him in the coffin and how paralyzed I was sitting on the sofa in the funeral home looking at a person who had meant so much to me and it was not registering as to how he could possibly be dead at 19.

Over the years I have wondered how his family had been and what all became of them. I can only imagine how it affected his parents whom I didn’t get to see again.

But this little sign I believe he sent to me today had in its own way comforted me and reminded me that not only has he not forgotten me, but that no matter where we go in life, the people we love and have lost will always shown themselves to us. Their spirits live on.

This lovely, simple confirmation and remembrance today, for me, though bittersweet, reassures me that there is something after this life which we will all reach. And one day we will be greeted by all those who went on before us and when that happens what a heavenly party we’ll have!

Jett Travolta – Death of a Young Son and Brother

No one will ever convince me there is a magical formula for healing from the death of a child.

Regardless of whether it was anticipated or not, there is a struggle to understand it. Parents don’t expect to outlive their children. It’s just the way it is.

When someone so full of life is taken from his family at the tender age of 16, we wonder how something like this could happen. How could such an accident occur; how could he die so young.

One of the most difficult challenges about children dying is there are few answers. It just doesn’t make any sense. We can’t get our heads wrapped around the tragedy regardless how it occurred.

I chose this particular photo of Jett because I just loved his tender expression. From the little I have learned from the news reports, it is clear his parents John and Kelly, and his sister, Ella, loved him dearly and completely.

Everyone should know that level of love in their lives. Everyone should be part of such a dynamic family who, even with their celebrity, seemed to really understand and know that family was the priority.

I send my condolences to the Travolta and Preston family today and also hugs to Jett’s sister, Ella, whom I’m sure misses her big brother very much.

May your family be comforted by the many families worldwide who send their love and concern.

And may you know in your hearts, which is obvious for all to see, that Jett moves on now knowing he was deeply, amazingly and demonstratively loved by you in a way that few of us will ever experience.