9-4-18 Martha Phillips

The holidays can be a rough time of the year for many of us. Two years ago this month I lost my brother suddenly 7 days after my father in law was diagnosed with brain cancer and we were told that he only had weeks to live. And as if that was not enough, we had to have our 12-year-old black lab put down in the middle of all of that. My brother’s funeral and my father in law’s funeral were literally 7 days apart! As bad as that all sounds, I have to say that year was one of the best Christmas’ we have ever had.

Even though my sister’s and I all suffered the same loss of a brother, they knew that for me, losing my father in law and a long time family pet on top of it was more than I could handle. My younger sister decided to have all of us to her home that year including my mother in law, my brother in law and his family and my sister in law’s parents. We had nontraditional food and my sister and I gave everyone small yet meaningful gifts to everyone. It was nothing but love for Christmas that year. And that’s what it should be every year.

If you are suffering a loss this year or like me your loss happened close to the holiday’s I highly recommend you be proactive about how you get through the holidays.

1. Acknowledge the loss and your grief. My father in law died 2 years ago today.

2. Ask for and accept help. Two years ago, I had a couple of dear friends go to my house and set up and decorate my Christmas tree and our church family fed us for 21 days straight.

3. Don’t feel like you have to make the holidays “feel” normal. I have a friend that lost her husband this year and she decided to book a Christmas cruise for herself and her family.

4. Honor the one you have lost. This could be with a prayer, lighting a candle or choosing an angel from the angel tree.

5. Maintain your exercise and nutrition. Many studies show exercise improves mood and so does proper nutrients.

6. Seek professional help!! If you are unable to find a professional counselor close to you, google online counseling! It’s a thing!

I will leave you with this, if you need to make a mends with family, do if before Christmas. It’s hard to argue with the words “I’m sorry.”

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