Coping with Grief

Christmas is going to be rough this year. With the loss of my mother on November 23, I have good days and bad days. Emmy might have said it best when she told me this morning, “Daddy is happy and Mommy is sad.” I certainly don’t think I’m sad all the time, but Emmy has seen me crying a lot, and that’s the first thing I’ve done to cope with grief:

1. Cry it out! When I hear a carol on the radio that reminds me of Mom, I let the tears roll. I’ve never been one to hold back tears, and now’s not the time to keep them in. Whether it’s a sobbing, wailing, tear-filled session which happened when I read Mom’s last emails to me, or just a couple of teardrops sliding down my cheek while singing “Away in the Manger” to the girls, I let tears flow.

2. Doing what I can. I bought Christmas candy for my Sunday school students, a birthday gift for Lily’s friend, and contributed to Lily’s preschool teachers’ gifts. My Christmas cards, however, are going to be late. I didn’t bring treats to Lily’s preschool Christmas party, or give her classmates a goody bag. I didn’t set out to intentionally do these things; in fact, I was still deluding myself the night before the party that I could run out to the store in the morning. It just didn’t happen.

3. No guilt! And so, I’m not going to feel guilty.The Christmas cards will be mailed soon. Lily’s class had plenty of cookies and candy that the parents had bought for the party, and I was not the only parent who hadn’t brought goody bags for the kids.

4. I’m not obsessing. Did you notice? My last three posts were not about grief!

5. Giving myself permission to not feel sad. I saw a Hallmark commercial last night, and it showed a grandmother receiving a card from her daughter. It was just corny enough that I didn’t want to cry, or let myself think about spending Christmas without Mom. I decided I couldn’t be sad every time someone’s mom was mentioned.

6. Letting my faith give me comfort. This is a little slow in coming. When I think about my faith, and that I believe Mom is in heaven, it doesn’t comfort me. I want her here, with me. I’m not ready for heaven to have her yet. But it’s beyond my control, and I’m struggling with the fact that Mom is truly gone. What comforts me more is knowing that in the long run, my faith will get me through this difficult time, somehow.

(Mom loved Christmas angels.)

Do you have some tips about how to cope with grief, especially during Christmas?

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8 Responses to Coping with Grief

  1. This is completely unrelated, but have you noticed it looks like there is an upside down bundt cake pan on top of that flying saucer your girls are riding in? I wonder…

  2. Hi, Sweetie! How are you coping? I'm sorry that I've been incommunicado, but as you said, holidays are hard. I wish that I had something good to add to your list, but you just about covered anything I've got. I'm remembering everything that my mom did for us during the holiday season and it makes me smile even when it hurts, too. Hold your family close and remember that God's Love and your mother's love are all around you. Wishing you a blessed holiday season and a happy new year!

  3. Hi, I'm Anna K. from Everyday Occasions. My cousin Lisa, who commented above, sent me a note to stop by….I'm glad she did. You, m'dear, are one strong lady.My mom passed away this May due to complications caused by battling two different types of cancer…one of which was breast cancer. She was my best friend.Some days the pain of her absence is overwhelming and other days I'm able to recall happier moments with her and smile. I cry, either way!As much as I miss her, I would never wish her to return to an earthly body that slowly stripped her of every dignity and denied her the joy of watching her grandchildren grow up. She is, without a doubt, in no more pain and is enjoying being with her savior.Y'know, I didn't offer any advice…but I'm here to listen or cry along with you. Whatever the moment dictates!

  4. I wish I did have some tips. My aunt passed away in May and this will be our first Christmas without her. It will be harder for my cousin, with her two boys, one of them who isn't even one yet. Letting yourself cry is a great idea…don't hold it in. Remembering the good times with them and surrounding yourself with your family is another.And that last thing you wrote….I can totally relate. With my aunt, I say to myself: "she's in Heaven with Jesus now…" but then I think, "Why couldn't she have been here with us."Yet, when we're all together and talking about her, I can feel her here with us. Is that odd?One day I heard a song in church that she always sang with her daughter and husband (they sang in church a lot) and when I told my mom about it she said they had sang it in their church too that day. It's not a common song, so it was weird for it to be sung in two different churches on the same day. It was like she was speaking to us….reminding us to "Think About His Love….Think about his Goodness…Think about his love that's brought us through…."

  5. Ginny,When I am really sad, I re-read "The Kite Runner". It is one of the saddest books I know, and it makes me sob every time. All that crying helps me get my grief out. Like you, I'm not one to hold back tears!

  6. I think you doing a great job. I wish I could help you. You lost your Mother and your sad, that is okay. Don't let anyone tell you different. I will continue to pray for you. I am so sorry.

  7. I guess this subject is on everybody's mind today. I have a blog post called School Me on Illness and the Holidays.Hang in there! Let the other mom's and dad's pick up the slack this year. That you even brought anything to your kids class is above and beyond.Kairol

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