Embracing Holiday Bereavement

I had to face it, holidays would never be the same after my husband died. I soon realized that I was never going to share time with my loved one again. There would never be the traditional Christmas shopping together, putting up Christmas decorations, shopping around town for a real Christmas tree, or going to a Christmas party together. I was never going to see another smile from my loved one or hear him say “I love you”. At times it felt that life would never be joyful again. And holidays seemed the worse because of so many joyous memories.

I had many other joyous moments in life. I remembered how joyous I felt when my children took their first steps, how excited and happy they were on Christmas morning. Then they went to their first day of school and they were no longer toddlers. I grieved to a certain point because I remembered the beautiful memories of them as babies, but knew that period of time was over and could never come back. But I’m still able to smile of those memorable moments.

Children grow up, get lives of their own. If we’re blessed, we can still share time with them. We take what we can get and savor every moment. Life is different, but we live in the moment and make new memories. Are we going take advantage of the present, and find the joy? Or will we still live in the past and wish they were toddlers with excited faces on Christmas and feel sad that it could never be like that again? If we live in just the past, we’ll never find joy in the present.

Why not embrace the past and smile that we were fortunate to have wonderful memories. That’s how I came to embrace the holidays through my bereavement. I had a wonderful man for many years. Yes, I was deeply sad that he died at a young age. It didn’t seem fair. But I had to face it. He wasn’t coming back. All I had were the memories. I embraced them. I remembered how he loved shopping for Christmas, wrapping presents, decorating, and parties. I recalled how much he loved his family. I now smile when I think of those bittersweet memories.

But I can also smile in the present when I see my adult children making good choices and having lives of their own. I smile when I can spend time with my 2-year-old grandson and he tells me he wants Santa to bring him a bike for Christmas! It brings me joy to hear Christmas songs on the radio that I’ve loved since I was a child. This causes me to remember childhood memories that I can never live over, but embrace the past with a smile. Merry Christmas!!

Cindy Adams

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Cindy A. Adams, LMSW, became a 34 year old widow in 1995 with 2 young daughters, 6 and 7 years old. Holding on to her faith, she worked through widowhood and realized there was more to life than grief. Once Cindy accepted her loss, she came to the realization that she had to make new goals and dreams. She decided she wanted to help others through their grief and tough times. After surviving her loss, she spent years volunteering at Hospice and also supported some of her own friends through their grief of losing children and parents. Cindy went back to school while raising her daughters and obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2010 from the University of Georgia. Cindy feels blessed that she remarried in 2009. She currently resides with her husband, Joseph, in Atlanta, GA. She serves in her church as a GriefShare leader and pursues her social work degree as a Medical Social Worker for a home health agency. Cindy self-published her book, "A Widow's Pursuit", in 2012 that she has written from her grief experience and where she was led over the years. It is a faith based book in how God kept her on track to pursue different goals and dreams while finding new purpose in life. www.awidowspursuit.com

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