Grief, and some lessons I have learned this holiday season.




I know that the holiday season is not always the easiest for a lot of us. We miss the loved ones that are not at our table anymore, sometimes money is tight, but you want to provide the perfect Christmas for your children, layoffs seem to happen at this time of the year, and with this pandemic, life has sure been a lot different than what we expected.


Friends, I encourage you to not think of the doom and gloom that this season brings for many of us; I encourage you to find new ways of making the holidays the best they can be for you. I know you are maybe saying, but you don't know my situation, you're right I don't, but I do know this we can choose to be in despair, or we can choose to rise above it.


I lost my uncle to suicide 23 years ago on Christmas Day; I know intense heartache; my father, my hero, passed away in September of this year. I didn't get to see him last Christmas due to a Covid scare, so I didn't get one last holiday with my dad. I miss my grandfather every day as well. He passed away 19 years ago, and usually, his memories come back to me full force at Christmas.


Folks, I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me; I am sharing so you know that you know you are not alone in your situation, that you have someone who has gone through some significant losses, but I choose to honour their memory and set new traditions.


I have learned a lot of life lessons this past week. As a recovering control freak and someone who people look up to in my family, I had a lot of family responsibilities, and everyone would come to me and expect me to "fix it," or that is what it felt like to me. I would want to solve everyone's problems. And I loved helping people; only I realized that is not healthy for either of us. The last two weeks, when a situation would come that was not directly related to me, I would listen and advise if they wanted it, but I let go. I didn't follow up to make sure they said they would do what they said they were going to do. That is freeing, my friends! The onus is on them; I realized that they need to stand on their own two feet that I do not have to swoop in like Wonder Women and fix them or their problems.


I have also learned this week to give myself some grace and space. As someone who has a business and works full time and a family to love and take care of, I have a lot of things to do but if something gets missed it will not kill us! Yes, I have many things that need to be done, but you know what, what is the worst that can happen? Plus, I find myself asking my husband to do things as well. That was hard for me; I thought he should know that X, Y, Z needed to be done, that he would do it. Nope turns out guys don't see things the same way we do. But if asked to do something, they will do it. Take some of the load off yourselves and ask for help.


Grief has sneaked up on me a lot these last two weeks; I have smelled my dad's cigars he would smoke on special occasions when driving to work, a song would come on the radio that would remind me of him, and I would visualize him dancing. I would cry, I went to the movies last night with my hubby and stepson, and they had old classic movies playing in the opening credits. The line was when a bell rings, it means an angel got its wings, and I thought of my dad and cried; the movie we went to see originally was Ghostbusters of all films, and the ending got me! She got to hug her dad one last time as a Ghost; well, you get the picture of how that affected me!


I guess what I am saying is allow yourself these moments, don't feel wrong about them, embrace them cause with these moments it meant that you lived! You have these memories with our loved ones to look back on. Embrace them, but also allow some time to yourself because it can be exhausting, and you may need a little more space than usual.

Over the holidays, please do things you love to do, this also helps us get through the holidays better, if there is a particular movie you like to watch, watch it. I encourage you to get outside and do some fun activities outside; the fresh air will help you. It clears our heads and allows us to relax better later as well. Maybe play new games and create new memories with your family.


In my community, homelessness has increased due to the pandemic, and the need is enormous everywhere. I find that volunteering or helping a family in need helps me around this time of the year; being part of a "Christmas miracle" is life-changing for me anyways. It helps get your mind off your troubles, and it could make a difference for someone else.

I hope this has helped you somehow; I would love to connect with you and hear your feedback.


I am here for you if you need someone to talk to this holiday season. Just send me a dm or shoot me an email @ grahamdorothy408@gmail.com.


From my family to yours, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


Love


Dorothy O'Dell

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