This grieving stuff is unrelenting! And just plain hard. You go along feeling actually great for quite awhile, then, BAM, you are crying uncontrollably and you can’t point to a single thing that brought you to that place. And you can’t leave that place until you give in; it is uncontrollable, after all.
And that’s just the beginning.
Now is the time of decorating the house for Christmas. It’s different than seeing and enjoying the festive decorations that adorn the homes of friends and family, or that are on display downtown or in another public place.
I’m experiencing my third holiday season without my spouse, David. But it is the first one that I’ve had my own space to decorate. (I lived with my daughter and her family for the previous two years.) And so this process complicates the grieving. (I’m moving to the plural here, because many of you face this, too.)
How do we decide? And do we talk with our children? Because we know they are hurting, too, and we want to take the pain away, not add to it. (Or, do we write a blog entry and tell them they need to read it?)
I’ve been told, and I’ve told others, not to force yourself in situations. When you’re ready, you do it. If you’re not ready, you don’t. But what if you don’t know if you’re ready or not? I mean, I love decorating for Christmas. It brings me joy to put out Grandma’s decorations: the singing candle carolers (that never get lit), the hand-crocheted holly, the set of seven lovely, pastel angels, and the glass ornaments on the tree. (Oh, and should it be a real tree or not?).
It brings me joy to set out the decorations from my mother (who died in 1978) and hang the Christmas stocking that she made for me when I was a kid and the one she made for my husband after we were married. And I love setting up the nativity that I remember from childhood.
It is fun to set out the picture of me on Santa’s knee when I was maybe four, and the one of our dog Branston being held on Santa’s lap.
How can I not put those things out?
Then, again, how much do I want to? I mean, it is difficult.
But they bring so much joy. But they make me cry. But . . .
Ok. You get the idea. How do you make decisions when you’re grieving? Well, I don’t know about you; your healing and living with grief will probably look extremely different than mine. But I think that this year I will start putting up the decorations. If it’s too much, I’ll stop. That makes sense to me now. Who knows about tomorrow!
Either way, I will thoroughly enjoy this season with my family, a season of hope, joy, peace and love — the things that aren’t things, and that those of us who grieve (which would be 99% of you reading this!) need an abundance of on a daily basis.
May you experience God’s hope, joy, peace and love this season in ways that make you laugh, that make you cry, and that remind you of how much you are loved.
P.S. Thanks for listening as I struggle with this. And Merry Christmas!