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The Time to Celebrate in a Time of Sorrow

December 7th, 2013 by judytalks

That time of year is here again. The Holidays are upon us, bringing excitement and chaos, memories and tears. The busyness of these weeks may keep our minds focused on the traditions we celebrate, but when bereavement accompanies you every day, there’s a dull ache that won’t go away. Friends and family want you to share in the joy of the holidays, and may flood you with places to go and things to do. Keeping the spirit alive is their goal and, though well-meant, they don’t understand that this year, and maybe for many years, a somber note clouds over the festivities.
How can you help yourself or someone else to celebrate your cherished traditions while mourning a loved one? Remember that this is your holiday to commemorate as you wish. It may not resemble anything you’ve done before, but you can establish new traditions, join others or be by yourself, or simply stroll through public places listening to the music and feeling the energy of people who are making merry. Decide ahead of time what you’ll do if sadness overtakes you, and make a list of gifts to give yourself this year. These gifts may include a cup of coffee and ice cream, an ornament for yourself or your loved one, a phone call to someone you haven’t talked to for a long time, or connecting with a neighborhood group distributing toys or food baskets.
The pain of loss will be with you for a long time, and missing your loved one may seem unbearable. If being with large groups is difficult, invite a few people who are close to you, serve simple food, and relax together. A sense of quiet peace and joy emerges from the gentle touch of those who truly comfort.
This may be a time of sorrow for others you know, and planning an outing might be the perfect solution for meeting and greeting, without having to answer endless questions of how you are doing. Plays and concerts are abundant and many are free or cost little. A chili supper and game night or dessert and coffee spread warmth around and nourish body and soul.
The need for comfort for yourself or a friend can occur anytime of the year, but the holidays are especially difficult. The gift of time and a listening ear are at the top of everyone’s list. Put on your Santa hat and feel the joy.
I wish you well,
Judy

The Gift of Giving

December 12th, 2011 by judytalks

The time of year for gift giving has arrived. I’ve never shopped on Black Friday and I never will. Couldn’t get me near a mall! But the joy of remembering those we love and who matter to us prevails. I like to spend some time and give thought for the gift I give each one on my list. Spending money is an option. But a sincere and heartfelt gift is often the one you make for a close friend or family member.

The gift of something homemade is usually kept for a long time. Children make gifts in school or at home and the parents keep them in a box for years. I have ornaments on my tree that were made in the 1970’s and ’80’s. Some show signs of wear, but they’ve held up amazingly well. They don’t glitter or shine, but are familiar remembrances to my family of their growing years.

The baked goods we make every year, and only this time of year, speak of tradition, and remind me of the years when my children “helped” me in the kitchen. Eggshells in the batter (they pulverize instantly and there’s no getting them out), too much salt, forgotten flavoring, and lopsided banana bread managed to be consumed, at least a little. One year we had peanut butter cookies sprinkled with red and green sugar, and they tasted great!

Whether you shop, bake, cut and glue, or just invite folks over for cider and conversation, the gift of giving brings warmth and joy, and keeps us connected.

Happy Holidays
Judy

The Season of Giving

December 9th, 2010 by judytalks

Holidays are a time to celebrate, to spread good cheer, prepare special dishes, and give gifts to those we love.
For the past week, I’ve been decorating the house, putting up the tree, and taking my holiday treasures out of their boxes. I have decorative things I made, that were given me, or some I simply bought because it appealed to me. Most of my things, though, are hand made. They get a little the worse for wear after many years, so they are wrapped in tissue or towels from holiday to holiday.
But no matter what general condition an item may be in, the real value lies in the memories it evokes. Where did it come from, how long ago, and what people and occasions are brought to mind?
Some things have sad memories attached to them, things received in a year of stress or the death of a loved one. There may be mourning during the holidays, no matter how festive your home or how special the holiday you’re celebrating.
For people newly bereaved, spreading joy may seem impossible. Let others do the honors, while you lovingly share poignant memories of happy times and past celebrations with your loved one. This may serve as a reminder to others, to cherish the time we have together and keep those treasures safe from too much wear and tear.

Happy Holidays,
Judy

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