He would have been 104 years old this week, had he lived. But my dad didn’t; he passed away 35 years ago. Every year, sometime around the beginning of November, even this long ago, I begin thinking about him. How about you, as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, are there any empty places around your table….even if they have been empty for a long while?We tend to give people a couple of weeks to get over it, when they lose a loved one, at least to get over it enough that their grief doesn’t spill over onto anyone else. But somehow, that seems rather cruel and unloving. As I think about this holiday season, I cannot help but think about all of those people who will be grieving, probably trying to keep their grief from being a bother, but nonetheless hurting. And I wonder if there isn’t something we ought to do about it.
Now I admit that what I’m going to suggest may not be within your comfort zone, or mine for that matter, but maybe it is what love would do. Maybe in these weeks, we should send another kind of card before we send the Christmas card. Or maybe we could include the note with the card, a note that says something like,
“I know this has to be a time of mixed emotions for you, a time of missing your…..and a time when everyone else wants to celebrate. Be assured that I am praying for you right now, that you will be able to enjoy happy holiday memories you shared with your….. I know that grief surprises you, and sometimes tears come from out of the blue. That’s OK. When you love someone a lot and you lose them, you hurt, and you grieve the loss. So sometimes tears are natural and healing. Nonetheless, I am praying that you are able to enjoy this time with your family, making new and good memories because that is what …..would have wanted for you.”
Now words like that don’t work for everyone, but you can find your own words that say I know you are hurting and I love you. Grief out loud heals more quickly that grief stuffed.
Just something I have been thinking about….