When you lose a loved one, the first of everything the entire following year starting with the first 24 hours and for the next 365 days can be a struggle, a nightmare, a mountain, or a blur. It could be one or more or all.
I have two members in my bowling league (that I know of) going through this right now. One lost her husband and the other, her mother. Both are devastating losses. They have both just experienced their first Thanksgiving and are dreading Christmas! It can be difficult to think of those holidays being different than the last 50 years as both of them had that, if not more years, with the loved one they lost. Trust me when I say those feelings and struggles happen after less years than that. I had half that with my son and I will find holidays difficult for many years to come.
My family picks holidays to leave this Earth. My father had an aneurysm on Mother’s Day. My oldest brother died on Thanksgiving Day. Eight years later to the day I lost another brother to cancer. I lost my mother five years later, but it wasn’t a holiday. We did, however, change the funeral arrangements to avoid burying her on her own mother’s birthday. I lost a third brother after he suffered a heart attack on Memorial Day weekend just two years after our mother. This changed almost all of our holidays to a perpetual Memorial Day. God has a plan. We don’t have a holiday where those members are not ever-present in our hearts, our minds, and our stories we share.
Here is my suggestion to all those going through the first of the worst: do something different, yet something the lost loved one would be happy you are doing. We all have to adjust and create a new normal. Even the new normal will change over time. It is a given. Our first Christmas without my son came with elating news. We found out our daughter was expecting. Now my worst Christmas had joyous news. A memory I will cherish, even though the wind blowing the wrong direction caused tears that first year.
Don’t try to be strong the entire time. It is ok! Celebrate the memories! Don’t be afraid to create new memories. The only constant we have is change. Nothing is guaranteed. God gave us our time with loved ones and will continue to give us time with loved ones. It just might be with different loved ones. We have to learn to accept that. That void in our holidays is proof of a life and love.
All things happen for a reason and may test our faith. Have faith in Him and know you are never alone, even if you are sad. The dates play a role we don’t even realize. It’s like the planets lining up and helping us make sense of a universe so complex. I love my family, those living and those who have passed. Holidays seem to highlight the void they left. It doesn’t mean we have to act as if they were never here, or fear those ahead. The first Christmas, New Years, his birthday, Mother’s Day, etc. were far from easy, but I thought about him and the life he had and the memories he left me with during each and every holiday that came and went. My son was with me in my actions, my thoughts, and my stories. I cried because he wasn’t here and smiled because he was!!
My heart goes out to all of those dealing with the first of the worst!! Please know you are not alone! I am praying for your peace, strength, and comfort for not only the first 365 days, major holidays, and moments when those triggers flip the switch to a flood of tears, but all the days that follow when you still have that never-ending question—“why?” We will never truly know, but trust that we will all find out in due time. It will all make sense. We are better for having those loved ones in our lives, even if it wasn’t for as long as we would have wished for!!
#thefirstistheworst #missingthoselovedones #loveliveson