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Handling the Holidays while facing griefcomment (0)

November 30, 2000

By Betty Baggott

November and December — the world begins to prepare for the holiday season.

“I am here.” “I care about you.” “I will pray for you.” This is the first season that I truly understand. For I too have lost someone so dear to me. Ten months now since my husband, Bob, passed away. The pain is still there. But I am better. When the worst nightmare possible happens, you wonder if there will ever be laughter again. Will the sun shine?

It is early morning as I write this article and I picture those of you who are trying to cope. I know the feelings that rise and fall and how you seem to be at odds with everything that goes on around you. Trust me, there is hope and God sustains us. How can there be any kind of peace? My friend I cannot explain it. Supernatural is the word. To be able to laugh, to have hope, to reach out to others, to put one foot in front of the other with some form of joy — that can only come with the touch of the Master’s hand. I experience that day after day and I wish the same for you. Your notes have touched my heart as you struggle in your grief. I care.

I know that to make it from November to January I must not believe all I have been told — that the holidays are awful and there is no way to survive without falling apart. That all the pain of holiday feelings, lights, music and evergreen trees will engulf me in a sea of sorrow.

I have chosen to survive and do everything in my power to keep afloat during the emotional storms that will come and go. Some of you may have to help me. You will and I will help others. God is the God of the holidays just as

He is the strength of every other time of the year. We all must believe this regardless of the grief we are going through. Mine is no different from yours. There are all kinds of deaths and at this point in time I wish I could give you some magic to shield you from hurt. But some things in life we all must go through and the best thing to do is just “go through it.” We will, but determination and work are required.

Already I have chosen to spend more time on my knees with God.

I have chosen not to worry about what friends and neighbors think if I do things differently. I have not decided exactly what will be different yet, but I must not worry if they think I have lost my mind. They will help me if I open my heart and let them know what I need. The same is true for you.

That tree will not go up this year — too many memories. I will place the memories of past Christmases together carefully one piece at a time, in my own time. If I look at something and it hurts too badly, I will put it away.

I may not listen to a lot of Christmas music. What will work for me I do not know at this point, but I will find the answer.

I will go to Minnesota to visit my sister-in-law for Christmas. All of us being together is what counts.

Do you see what I am saying? For me I must work at finding how I can cope and help my family cope. Then there is my larger church family where I am director of education for the church. I have a sad feeling about not being there for them on Christmas Eve. Together we have braved the storm for these months and we have grown in our grief. But I know I have to be selfish about some things. And whatever I can do to survive, I need to do. I am glad that, even in my grief, I have this feeling of concern for them. That means I am better.

Planning how to cope with rough days will make it a lot easier. Deciding to make changes this year does not mean I will do the same thing next year. I have just got to decide what will work best for me now. The one thing I do know is that with God’s help I will survive and perhaps help others in the process.

November is a time to give thanks and I do.

Thanks for a God who has held on to me, for friends who have lifted me, for those of you who read this article and let me into your hearts, for knowing my dear husband is alive with God. How thankful I am for my faith.

Approach the holiday season in a positive way. Let’s thank God for what He is going to do. I will pray for you. Please pray for me.

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