Resources - December 2003
The Acknowledgement of Loss
We recognize significant holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day, July 4th and Thanksgiving because the dates are the same every year. Significant events that happened close to these dates are easily recalled as these dates get closer. My maternal grandmother's birthday was the last day of the old year and she died ten days before Christmas. Christmas and New Year are therefore forever associated with memories of her life and death.
Places also function as markers. Most Americans remember where they were when Kennedy was shot or the World Trade Center was attacked. I was at the Maui Writers Conference when I heard Princess Diane had died.
If you are remembering a painful a loss this holiday, here is a suggestion: Try to acknowledge aloud: "I/We know that [put in the persons name] wish you would be with us if you could. We know you loved us and would want us to enjoy our day/Christmas just as much as if you were here. If you can see us now, know that we love you and remember all the good times we shared together." If you wish. you can then invite each person to share a special memory of that person.
When you openly acknowledge the missing person, you may shed tears and feel sad ut you will also find comfort in sharing your feelings rather than holding them inside in solitary loneliness.
Grief is easier to bear when it is shared; love is warmer, when we include significant recollections of people we love who can no longer with us in person.
I choose to believe that when we remember people we love, they see the world through our eyes and know they are still loved and that their soul lives on in our hearts and shares in our joys and love.
While you still have your life, be sure you build good memories so that one day, they can be recalled by the people who love us.
Remember attachment and love make us who we are. Let this holiday be a time for you to create a wonderful memory of joy for your loved ones.