Love the Holidays After Loss

If you're reading this because you've lost someone, I am so sorry for your loss.  I'm so sorry we have to meet this way, however I'm encouraged by the number of people who inspire me to find hope in our darkest days.  My wish is that you find comfort in these words as the flow directly from my heart.  

Last week’s post, How to Overcome Anxiety in the Midst of Chaos was written because I could feel the pressure in my heart is building. 

This week I realize where the pressure originates. 

The holidays are approaching and our thoughts turn towards spending time with those we love. 

And yet, we can't spend time with those we've lost.

Or can we?

I imagine all parents, those who've lost children and those who haven't, face the dilemma of "how to consciously create quality family memories during the busy holiday season?  Josh and I are the same, we want to spend time with both our daughters.  The challenge is one is not here so we can't take her to see the Christmas lights or to sit on Santa's lap.  We have to get creative and find non-traditional ways of connecting Adeline because our relationship with her is anything but traditional.  

The first time I ever experienced issues with anxiety was last year the day before Thanksgiving. It was our first holiday season without Adeline and I honestly thought I was doing ok. Until a moment at a work holiday pot-luck party when I realized I wasn't. I had to leave the party early and that night as I lay in bed, attempting to fall asleep, my heart was racing and it was difficult to breathe. I had several more episodes like this throughout the next few months.  Moments where my anxiety took over and I felt out of control. I managed to survive the holidays, but this year I'd like to do things a little differently. 

By biggest fears about the upcoming holiday season are that my anxiety will cloud my ability to be fully present and I'll get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season and miss spending time with Adeline. 

I'm afraid I'll miss it with her, with Josh, with Kate with everyone.   

I know our minds move into an anxious state in order to help us cope with our surroundings.  Our brains create this state in an effort to help shield us from the pain. We retreat to a place where life is dull and void of feeling  so we can I have a momentary reprieve from the pain. Exploring connection with Adeline also means acknowledging that she's gone and that our relationship with her will never be what we expected.  It means being courageous enough to embrace our sadness as we explore. 

I no longer want to avoid the pain, I want to feel my life and hers. 

And so this year I'm planning to make a conscious effort to “be” with Adeline.

I’ll see the butterflies that surround me.

I’ll feel the sunshine on my face. 

I’ll wipe the tears from my eyes. 

I’ll smile because I KNOW she’s here with me. 

If you’re missing someone this holiday season I encourage you to find time to immerse yourself in this Heart Work. This connection with yourself and those you’ve lost.  Nothing in life is as important that the relationships we develop, even with those we’ve lost. 

Love and virtual hugs to all of you who are missing someone today.  Your mom, dad, sister, brother, friend, or child; whomever it might be for you.  Know that you are not alone.  You are loved. Peace to you all. 

Does life feel out of control? Do you feel overwhelmed and anxious? Check out this free guide on How to Calm the Chaos After Loss.