Acknowledging Grief During The Holidays is Brave

Acknowledging Grief During The Holidays Is Brave

Grief - it's sometimes an uninvited holiday guest


My Dad says some pretty profound stuff sometimes, and he said something amazing to me three years ago. We were sitting in a restaurant that had peanuts littering the floor and cold air blasting me from behind with a lot of my cousins in southern Missouri.

We had gotten on the topic of death and mourning, and he said that grief is like a suitcase.

"Somedays, it's really heavy and you have to carry it with you throughout your day. Other times, the suitcase is light and you leave it at home. Occasionally, you ask someone else to help you carry the weight. It just depends on the day."

I looked at him with wide eyes while he talked. I had taken a "Death, Suffering and Healing" class in high school, but none of the talks ever included information like that. I received countless stories about the process of dealing with death, and we even watched this ridiculously funny movie called Death at a Funeral (I highly suggest it).

I took the class because I realized someday in the future, I would also have to start grieving people - maybe the loss of friends from cancer, my grandparents, and someday (far far far in the future I hope) my own parents.

The holidays are tough for a lot of people, especially those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. What I've gathered from studying about this topic is that grief doesn't have an expiration date.

Even though time (and definitely a lot of faith) does help the healing process, a random day ten years after the death can still hurt just as much as the first day of mourning.

But I don't think that mourning during the holiday season (and in the presence of family and friends) is always a horrible idea.

Mourning during the holiday season has its pros and cons.

A couple of pros are the following:

1. You at least get to spend time with the loved ones that are present.

2. There are a lot of fun holiday activities to do, like sipping hot cocoa, decorating the house, singing silly Christmas carols, donating time at a local food bank or shopping for "Adopt a Family," etc.

3. You probably have a couple of days off from work (and maybe a lot of days off from school!).

But there are also a lot of cons to the holiday season:

1. Feeling sad while in the presence of loved ones could make you feel guilty - and maybe it makes you feel even worse if you break down crying in front of them. Sometimes, it might feel like a crime to be unhappy during a time when you "should" feel happy. The thing about emotions and grief is they kind of have their own schedule.

2. The activities might seem less cheerful because you just wish that person were there.

3. The days when you're not preoccupying your time with a bunch of activities can seem really long, and lead you to have more time to mourn and grieve (which isn't usually a fun activity, which is why I predict some grieving people don't really like to be still for too long).

I wanted to write this article to encourage anyone who is going to go home (or hang out with friends) and deal with grief during this holiday season. I can't really suggest to you a way to mourn perfectly because there isn't one.

What I've heard is that expressing those emotions and thoughts is helpful, either through journalling, songs, talking it out, or dancing.

I pray that you have some fun holiday moments and remember that although feelings are sometimes uncontrollable, our thoughts and coping mechanisms can help those feelings be ordered to make them less overwhelming.

I hope that was helpful, and if it wasn't, let me know. Happy Holidays!

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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My Boyfriend's Family Helped Me Find My Home Away From Home

Taking "home is where the heart is" to a new level.


I have always heard that one day I will find a place that will feel like my home away from home, specifically with my significant other. Honestly, I couldn't envision loving a place like the way I do my hometown, let alone love it even more. Nonetheless, here I am, sitting in the Little Rock, Arkansas airport tearing up as I say goodbye to my home away from home.

Let me tell you about my hometown. I live in a relatively small town in Wyoming and it has always been my home. My family, friends and work are here in Wyoming. But, there happens to be this man who has my whole entire heart. His hometown is a little town in Arkansas, that also happens to be 17 hours away from me. I came to visit him in his hometown for the first time ever. Not only to see Arkansas for the first time but to see him for the first time in a month and to have the opportunity to meet his family.

I won't lie, meeting parents for the first time is definitely nerve-wracking. It's not that I am hard to get along with, it's the fact that I want them to love me because I love their son and I couldn't conceptualize that ever changing. From the moment I stepped into their home, I was welcomed with big arms and beautiful smiles. His family welcomed me, a complete stranger, into their home with no questions asked. Right away I knew I felt like I was home.

Finding your home away from home is easy to recognize. Home is a place full of love and laughter and that is what I found in Arkansas. It was a second home that I felt comfortable in. Feeling comfortable somewhere is not always the easiest feeling to grasp. For me, I feel the need to be in a comfortable place to be myself and call it "home."

I believe that it is essential for everyone to have a "second home" or a "home away from home." Having a second family can and does provide so much more love in my life I never knew I needed. I of course do and always will love and adore my family with my whole heart and soul but having these other people in my life gives me so much assurance that I'll always be surrounded with love and happiness. You can never have too many friends, too much family and certainly never too much love. So thank you. Thank you for welcoming me, loving me as your own, and showing me that having a home away from home is such a positive part of my life.

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