One of my favorite Christmas songs is on the CD Home for Christmas by Amy Grant. The song is, “Grown-Up Christmas List.” The words of the chorus sum up so many of my own personal sentiments that I often sing along and turn up the volume.
“No more lives torn apart that wars would never start and time would heal all hearts. Everyone would have a friend and right would always win and love would never end. This is my grown-up Christmas list.”
Many of us find these words especially difficult if we have just lost someone we love, and our hearts feel like they will never heal. So, my friends here is my grown-up Christmas and New Year’s list for any of you who have just had your heart ripped apart by a loss…
- I pray that you will put your “game-face” on if you feel like you must, but if you don’t feel like you want to, please honor that.
- Let self-care be your gift to yourself and don’t feel guilty – you have no energy for that!
- Know that you will learn a lot of things as you journey through your grief and that they are not all bad.
- Accept that this journey is longer than you might want it to be but it will show all that you NEED to know.
- Try not to dread the New Year – the worst that can happen already has – why not just accept that there will be good and bad but stay alert to the good?
- Be bold in your response to people who are inappropriate or hurt you in any way – the people who will stay on your contact list will survive it, and those who don’t will probably grow distant anyway.
- Surround yourself with loving, supportive friends and family who aren’t afraid of your tears, your stories and saying your loved ones name.
- Know that grief changes everything. If this years Christmas or New Year celebrations are a bust, you will probably have more. So spend them the way YOU want to – you have just lived through a horrendous, stressful time. Your body, mind and spirit need your tender care.
This is my Grown-Up Christmas List for you the bereaved. My prayer for you is that small threads of peace and joy begin to weave themselves through the holes in your heart in the days and months to come.