Death and the Holidays

As November began I had no idea I would be dealing with grief over the holidays. As November began I knew I would be spending time with some dear friends who had just lost their dad to cancer, but I didn’t know that death would visit closer to home.  As November began I had been thinking a lot about my friends who have lost loved ones, especially those who have lost children in the last calendar year. Then it happened.  November 12 I got the call that my Grandma had collapsed and wasn’t responding. A few frantic moments later I got another call “she’s gone”.  I had seen her on Thursday, she was fine, washing dishes, chatting with my piano students as they came through for lessons, reading to my little kids…now it was Saturday night and she was gone, entering the Pearly Gates, seeing Jesus face to face, reuniting with her husband, son, sister, brother, leaving those of us on earth, who knew her, to grieve. 


This was not the first time I have lost a loved one. I’ve gone through the steps of grief on several occasions. Grandma was my last grandparent (of four) to pass away, and two of my uncles have died as well. The initial shock and tears are intense, I find that I cry a lot in the first week and at the services I cry the whole way through, but then…but then…


Then, I go to my mom’s the next week, my kids and I were looking for some lunch at one point and there is a bag of store bought bread…no more Grandma-made bread. 

Then, my son asks “what is going to happen to Great Grandma’s room at Grandma’s?” 

Then, I’m in grocery store, the lady in front of me at checkout is about Grandma’s height, close in age, she forgot one of her items in her cart, her coat was similar to Grandma’s, and she had the same hair style.  


The initial shock of a loved ones death does not take long to wear off, but its these little things that just catch you off guard make you stop and sob. 


I decided that is what makes holidays so difficult. Its one memory after another where the recently deceased just isn’t there. Grandma was not around to do the puzzles, not there to watch the card games, not there to play the piano, or initiate the singing, not there to confirm or deny the aunts and uncles as they reminisce their childhood days. 



As I prepared myself for the weirdest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had I thought of my friends who have lost children, I saw my friends who lost their father, and I grieved for my Grandma. Some things I walked away with after Thanksgiving weekend…If you lost someone this year, know that there is comfort for the broken hearted. (If you don’t know this, ask me about it.) If you lost someone this year, know that you were in my prayers. If you lost someone this year, don’t forget them, but remember and keep living. Live well. Love, Laugh, and Live the life you were given, as well as you can, as long as you can. 

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