For most people, the holidays are a time to celebrate. It’s a time where you get to be with family that you may not normally see all the time, and it’s a time to make memories and share laughs.
For others, it can be a reminder of loved ones they’ve lost. Whether it’s a mother, son, or cousin, it can be hard to get through the holidays when those loved ones are on our minds.
I personally am someone who will be “surviving” the holidays. What should’ve been a wonderful time of the year, is now going to be the hardest times of my life. 2019 has been rough and I pray that nothing but good things are coming in our future.
While I will be celebrating my birthday, I’ll also be mourning the loss of our daughter Aaliyah who was due on the same day. We should be sharing a birthday together, but sadly that is no longer our reality. God has called her home to be with Him.
But it isn’t over. I refuse to let that steal my joy this holiday season, and you shouldn’t let your circumstances steal yours either.
Here are some ways that you can survive the holidays after losing someone you love.
First, the Joy of the Lord
Being one of God’s children means that we get to experience strength and joy in the Lord. He knows the troubles we face, and He also knows how to equip us to get through them. Though we have suffered, God still gives us the strength to carry through. With Him, we learn to find joy in the midst of our sorrows.
One of my favorite scriptures about this comes from 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (CEV): “So when you accepted the message, you followed our example and the example of the Lord. You suffered, but the Holy Spirit made you glad.”
Another scripture that I lean on is John 16:22 (CEV). “You are now very sad. But later I will see you, and you will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel.” The KJV says “no one will take your joy from you.”
When we lean on the Lord for peace and strength, He fulfills our every need. This holiday season, I am choosing love and joy. I’m choosing the redirect every negative, sad, helpless emotion that I’ve felt in 2019, into something positive. I gave my sorrows to the Lord and He restored me.
I won’t say that the losses don’t affect me at all anymore. I am still human, and I still “feel.” But when I start to feel those emotions creeping back on me, I make sure to pray to God that He will give me peace beyond my own understanding (Phillipians 4:7). Without peace, there is no joy.
This Season, Make Sure of These 5 Things:
1. Surround yourself with people who support and love you
This is a given. This holiday season, make sure you’re around people who you know love and support you.
Subsequently, if you just feel like being alone, that’s okay too! Don’t feel pressured to spend your time with people whom you don’t want to spend time with. Being alone sometimes is okay too.
Don’t confuse being alone with isolating yourself, as there is a difference. Being alone can be healthy, but isolating yourself can cause more issues in the long run.
2. Remove yourself from triggering situations
Don’t you ever feel like you HAVE to do something. Learn to say no. Don’t want to go somewhere? Say no. Don’t want to hang out with so and so? Then say no. One thing I’ve learned to do is to only go places and do things that are best for my emotional well being. No one else is going to be a bigger advocate for yourself.
And remind yourself, if you need to, that it’s okay. Even if other people don’t understand, it is okay. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. Advocate, unapologetically, for yourself.
3. Take it day by day
Time really does heal all wounds. Though it may feel like wounds are being reopened during the holidays, don’t let it. Focus on today. Take it step by step, one foot in front of the other.
4. Be good to yourself
Lastly, if you’re feeling particularly down one day, make sure you do something for yourself. For the ladies, if you want to have a spa day, have one! Get your nails done, get your hair done, go shopping (and make sure you make a budget)! If you like painting, go out to a Michaels or Hobby Lobby and buy some new materials and supplies.
5. Create new traditions in memory of your loved one(s).
That’s what we will be doing this year. I will not go into the details of what we will do, but we plan on doing something special in loving memory of Aaliyah. I never want to forget that I would’ve shared a birthday with my beautiful daughter.
Make an effort to create a tradition that honors your loved one. Though it may hurt a little in retrospect, I promise you will feel so good about it in the end. Whether it’s just a Christmas tree ornament, a short poem read out loud with the family, or a small, at home ceremony, there are so many ways you can honor your loved ones.
We will see them again some day!
I have a lot of peace in knowing that I will see my babies again one day. The same goes for you and your loved ones! Though it feels like forever away, you will see your loved ones again. Right now, they are resting peacefully with the Lord and that’s okay! Though we miss them, it is not as if we won’t ever see them again. I find a lot of peace in this and I hope you do.
I truly hope that you have a wonderful holiday, in spite of. Feel free to comment below if you ever need anyone to talk to.