Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Forever Remembered, With Gratitude.

I love the Holiday Season.

I don't know if it's because it's a slower paced time and allows for deeper reflection or if it's the joy of being able to see my family for longer periods of time and gift them with things they can use or will enjoy...

I love that, as a nation, we are stopped for a minute with the idea of giving Thanks.

However, for a long period of time, the Holidays brought a lot of sad memories with them.  Like you, I've lost a lot of people really close to me.  I dare say I have been to eight times more funerals than I have weddings.  I don't know about you, but loss has never been an easy thing to cope with for me.

There's a lot of marking time that happens.  The first Birthday, Holiday Season, New Year, etc. that goes by without that special someone who passed on there to celebrate with us.  And there's this crazy hole deep within that's impossible to fill with anything or anyone else.  Right?  I know I used to wonder if the entire world had stopped spinning or if it was just my own little personal globe that took a nosedive off it's axis. 

And the days and epiphanies have long since arrived that the world did not stop spinning and it was my own little personal globe that took that nosedive.  I was so upset at the marked time that had gone by and I felt completely alone in my various stages of grief, trying to find my place in the world again.

Then in came the Holidays.  Whoa!  When I was coming out of the darkness of heavy grief, the Holidays took on this whole new weird thing for me.  Was it OK to celebrate the Holidays without all these people that I love?  Was it OK to laugh again and feel lighter in spirit?  Was it OK to enjoy some living again?  Was it equally to OK to still have sadness linger with these new emotions?

I can't pretend I have the answers for anyone in the world, but I did find some for myself.  I discovered that it's OK for me to smile and laugh and enjoy the Holidays again.  I discovered that a smile does not mean that I forget those whom I miss.  I discovered that crying doesn't mean I am weak nor does it mean I am being dramatic.  It's just a way for sadness to work it's way out of my body.

I discovered that there is still a world of living people in it whom I love and love me and that we can rise together and enjoy life a little differently than before.  I discovered that scars don't go away--some of them even stay that fresh light pink that never fully heal, but even that is OK.  The holes in my spirit now have different flowers planted in them, to mark the love I feel vs the time that has gone by.

The bonds we have with those we love are never gone, never lost.  They shift.  The pain we feel when someone is gone is equal to our love for them.  The tremendous pain is the reminder of the tremendous love we have inside that carries us from day to day.  On the darkest or the lightest of days are days that mark the time.  It's how we choose to live those days that marks US.

The Holidays are upon us and for some of us it's the first set of Holidays without a certain someone special we lost recently.  Or it's the fourth year.  Or it's the third year.  Or it's the eighth year.  Or the twentieth-sixth.

This Thanksgiving and Holiday Season, I remain so grateful and thankful that I am capable of so much love for so many people.  I am reminded how much love there is left to give, especially to my baby-who is due in February.  I look around at the amazing and inspiring humans that are still here in my life and I am filled with constant gratitude.  I look at all of my family and friends I have lost over the years and I am so grateful to have had them in my life.  In fact, they never truly left my life, for their memory and spirit live on in all of us who were lucky enough to know them.  Nobody will ever replace a single one of them and I love them all, forever. 

I hope you are able to take a breath this Holiday Season and take the time to feel your own love and carry it through not only through
January 1st, but ever onward.

Happy Holidays, Beautiful People.


Michelle Tomlinson

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