Happy New Year! I’m grateful to be in the number of those who made it to 2019!
As I promised in my previous blog post entitled “Preparing to Survive the Holidays,” here is my follow-up on how things went.
I must admit that I am glad to be on the other side of the holidays (insert sigh of relief). As I anticipated the first holiday season without my mother, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered if I would be extremely sad, angry or what, as Christmas, New Years’ Eve, and New Years’ Day approached. Shortly after New Years’ Day would also be the first anniversary of my mother’s passing (January 6). So, all of those milestone dates were back to back on the calendar.
I think overall, I didn’t do too badly. On Christmas Day, my daddy and I spent the afternoon and evening visiting friends. People were very gracious to us, and we had several invitations to Christmas dinner (too many to accept lol). Overall, the day was filled with fun and laughter.
It was on New Years’ Eve 2017 when my mother went into cardiac arrest. My plan was to go to a church service this year, but the later in the evening it got, the more I knew I wouldn’t make it. I ended up sleeping through midnight, and woke up in time to call my Daddy to wish him a Happy New Year in the Central Time Zone. New Years’ Day was quiet…I made some of the traditional food for the holiday (collard greens, black eyed peas) and reflected on what I was doing a year ago….trying to get home to be by my mother’s bedside. I was back to work the next day, and my busy schedule resumed. It helped to be busy when the anniversary of her passing came.
What did I learn in this process of surviving the holidays?
Don’t be afraid to share with people what you are about to face during the holidays
I’m not saying share with everyone, but only with those who understand what you are going through and who will show you compassion. They may or may not remember that you are facing the holidays without a loved one (and that’s ok…we shouldn’t expect people to remember every significant moment of our lives). Those who really care about you will check on you, invite you to dinner, or do something to help you get through this period.
Some people choose to share these milestones on social media. I chose not to, because I didn’t think I would be up to responding to hundreds of responses about my loss.
Go with the flow
For Christmas, while my Daddy and I had made plans, we also let the day unfold as it would. It was great spending time with loving friends, and we also knew when it was time to call it an evening (even though we didn’t make it to every house we thought we would). We didn’t put pressure on ourselves to do it all…and it was ok.
Thank God for the grace He extends
Through the entire holiday period (from Thanksgiving to New Years’), God showed Himself gracious to me! Yes, there were some sad moments. Yes, I shed some tears. Yes, I wished things could be different. But God showed His love and concern by giving me the strength to face this season, knowing that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I’m grateful to God for placing people in my life who would remember and acknowledge my loss…just the acknowledgement alone, and the fact that I was thought of, was a comfort.
Yes, I still grieve, but I am grateful. And…I’m looking forward to a new year with new possibilities.