Gratitude Comes

Gratitude Comes blog
Living The Big Stuff

Gratitude Comes

We are full on humming along in December!

Happy holidays—with merriment and delight!

If so, enjoy!

But, what if you’re not feeling it? What if you’re feeling “blah humbug?”

If this describes you, it’s okay. It’s not all “fa la la, la la la la” for everyone. So many are missing loved ones this time of year. The firsts of many without that special person.

If you’re feeling this way, perhaps it’s a time to slow down and change things up to make room for something new to emerge in the coming year. December can be so full and sometimes what is called for is just a time to reflect on the past year, heal and hunker down—to step out of all the holiday hoopla and be in a cocoon of rest.

When my husband passed mid-December, eleven years ago, I wasn’t sure I’d ever enjoy the holidays again. I thought the joy of the holidays might always remain in the shadow of death and grief. I’m happy to say, that’s not true at all for me or our family. Instead, there’s something more poignant that hits us as we remember him in his last days. Our holidays have greater meaning in celebration of his life as we remember him with love. We had to change in order to meet the holidays with a new attitude and new traditions. They are simpler now, but filled with nostalgia, appreciation for one another, and small rituals that honor Richard’s memory.

Every year, I put up wreaths and garlands in my windows—my home is decorated year round in warm colors of gold, rusted red and earth tones and lends itself to becoming a holiday house easily and readily.

This year, I noticed that I had put all of my decorations away in such order last year, I was able to put everything up with ease and in record time. I was so grateful after breaking my foot this past summer that I could climb up and down the tall latter effortlessly to place the garlands high in the windows.

That’s what’s powerful about loss, when you’re feeling better, and you’ve healed—whether it’s a broken foot or a mending heart—the gratitude is there and so is the joy of noticing how grateful you feel that the worst is behind you. That leaves plenty of new territory in front of you and the promise of a new beginning.

Whether you slow down or speed up this time of year is up to you. Slowing down and simplifying will amplify your appreciation and give you a chance to take a deep breath and pause—readying and steadying yourself in preparation of the new year.

When someone passes, they pass the torch onto you to live—to carry on—to live with greater intensity. The loss reminds us how precious life is—and how short.

You may find yourself asking deeper questions this time of year, and that’s absolutely wonderful to do. December can be filled with deep reflection on all that’s passed and all that’s coming. There is hope on the horizon as gratitude comes.

I never stop celebrating Richard or stop saying his name. I continue to speak to him in my thoughts and words every day, and this is how I’ve carried on my relationship with him. I bring him forward with me. And, if you are living in loss, you can do this with your loved ones too.

You will make it through—whether in a cocoon or out and about.

I am wishing you peace for the holidays—and the joy of simple things well loved and well lived.