vitamins and minerals

Refilling The Hole of Loss

The truth of celebration is that there is often a bittersweet element to it. Someone may miss this year at the celebration. The last Christmas my family had with my husband was spent in the hospital and at home.

We had a Christmas tree at both locations. The children were nine and seven years old. On Christmas morning, the children woke up with presents under the tree and stuffed stockings as the three of us experienced our first Christmas without a dad with us. Later that morning we went to the hospital with gifts and he had the gifts I had bought that he would give them. There was joy mixed with sadness that we all knew was the last time.

The rest of the story

What has happened since that Christmas in 1979, you ask? How did we make the holidays happy even though the loss seemed so great?

Here is what I want to share with you. There is not a reader today who has not experienced a loss that affected later celebrations. The choice of how to celebrate is what becomes relevant.

Do you choose to remember the circumstances of the loss OR create new memories that encompass the good memories of the past. Our choice was to remember the life of the father of my children and not the death.

The memories my children still have of their father have never left them and I encourage them to remember those days during our celebrations. I add stories they don’t remember, bits of history about him before they were born. Today it includes sharing these stories with my grandchildren present.

Another family I know asks everyone at their celebration to write a short story to add to a memory book of the celebrations each year. With today’s technology, some creative ways to create these anecdotes include image pages to tell the stories.

Memory loss

It may seem difficult when someone in your family suffers from memory loss with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or any other type of dementia. I would like to encourage you to stay in the moment and enjoy the present of the celebrations by remembering that this is exactly how your loved one lives their life. They are living the experience.

Think about it. We hear a lot about living our lives in the present. This is exactly how these loved ones live. So live with them in this joy of the present. The good food, the packaging, the laughs and above all the love you will give. You can’t give a better gift to the one you love than to include them in the celebration of the moments you share that day.

Fill in the hole by honoring the memory of your loss by creating new memories while sharing some of the fond memories of the past.

(This is an excerpt from Maralene’s soon to be published book, Passing Legacy Forward)

(c) Maralene Strom, All rights reserved 12/06

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