Posted Nov 22 2016 by GaryRoe in Courageous Living, Death and dying, Decision-making, Depression, divorce recovery, Emotional pain, Grief and Loss, Grief recovery, Healing, Healing from trauma, Holiday grief, Loneliness, Love, Peace, Relationships, Stress Management, Suffering and Pain, Trauma recovery with 4 Comments
One Sunday afternoon when I was fifteen, my dad had a massive heart attack and collapsed in front of me. They resuscitated him at the hospital, but he never regained consciousness. For a week I sat by his bed and talked about anything and everything that came into my mind.
I knew he wasn’t going to make it.
Since there was no evidence of any brain activity, the doctors asked for permission to turn off the machines. Dad died several hours later.
I had been living with my dad, just the two of us. It wasn’t a perfect relationship, but I loved him. When he died, I felt lost. He had been my home.
Another family stepped up and took me in. Even though they already had four kids, they welcomed me in as one of their own. It was wonderful. They helped me heal.
Then November and December rolled around. First dad’s birthday, and then Christmas. I was having a blast with my new family, but I also felt terribly sad. My heart ached.
I missed my dad.
Holidays can mess with our hearts
Special days bring up and magnify our losses. We become keenly aware of who’s missing.
I think of feel-good Christmas classics like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas. The backstories of these films include tragedy, illness, economic disaster, war, death, depression, and the difficulty of aging. Perhaps that’s why they’re classics. They give us hope. They’re about overcoming our losses. Though life is tough, love and goodness can still win out.
I’ve had almost 40 years of holidays without my dad. The ache has gotten better, but it’s still there. I’ve gotten used to that hole in my heart and have learned to appreciate it.
I miss him. I’m supposed to.
Using special days to heal
We never get over a person. We learn to get through tough times in the healthiest way possible. And that includes birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the other special days.
Like those holiday classic movies, many of our special days will be about overcoming. The goal isn’t to merely survive, but to make those special days work for us in less and help us heal.
How can we use that special day to honor our loved one, express our love for them, and also loved those around us in the process?
Holidays can be tough. But they can still be good.
Adapted from the 2016 Book Excellence Award Finalist, Surviving the Holidays Without You: Navigating Grief During Special Seasons
Missing someone is painful.
Will the hurt ever end?
“I kept waiting for the pain to stop. Some things got easier with time, some didn’t. Right now, there is this deep, dull ache in the recesses of my heart,” Noel confided.
She paused and looked at her hands in her lap.
“I’ll always miss him. Always,” she said.
Noel’s husband Steve had died almost a year earlier from brain cancer. She’s right. She will always miss him.
Missing someone is painful
The missing can be so painful. The yearning for your loved one can be intense. Perhaps you wonder when all this will be over.
On some level, the ache in your heart will remain. You won’t feel it as much, or as acutely perhaps, but it’ll be there. When the aroma, place, or song triggers a memory, your heart will groan.
But over time, the ache will not only bring longing, but a smile. Thanksgiving for what your loved one and what you had will replace sadness over losing it.
He or she has an always-place in your heart.
Today’s grief affirmation:
“I’ll always miss you, because you have an always-place in my heart.”
“I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.” – Rita Mae Brown
But these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Want more? Grab your copy of Heartbroken today (Amazon Bestseller, USA Best Book Awards Finalist, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist).
Gary Roe has been a campus minister, church-planter in Japan, and pastor in Texas and Washington. He currently serves as a writer, speaker and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley in Central Texas.
He is the author of four books, including Heartbroken (Amazon Bestseller, 2015 National Indie Excellence Award Finalist) and Not Quite Healed (co-authored with New York Times Bestseller Cecil Murphey, 2013 Lime Award Finalist for Excellence in Non-Fiction). With more than 250 articles in print, he is a popular speaker at a wide variety of venues.
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