The first holiday season after a loss can be especially difficult – whether it’s the loss of a loved one or the loss of a marriage. I remember the first Thanksgiving after my dad died. My mom and I were celebrating Thanksgiving with my sister in another state. After Thanksgiving Mass, we all three just stood there and cried because we missed my dad so much.
It’s so easy to fall into a funk during the holidays – sadness, anger, depression, and bitterness. Cycle Dude said his deceased wife is the one who made the holidays joyful for him and his children. There just doesn’t seem to be any spark in his holidays. I am determined to change that this year (since I am living in his house, too).
I decorated his house for fall because it’s my favorite time of the year and I always decorated my home for fall. I have tons of Christmas decorations that I will set out as well. I have discovered that there is something to celebrate after my divorce – peace, stability and joy. Those things were dreadfully lacking in my marriage. I celebrate a life of gratitude – for Cycle Dude, my children and soon-to-arrive granddaughter, my pups, my friends, etc.
My life is not perfect – whose is? Yet, there is so much in my life to celebrate. There is so much to be grateful for. If this is your first holiday season after your divorce, it doesn’t have to be depressing. Take time for yourself – what do you like to do? Go out for ice skating and hot chocolate with a friend. Volunteer at your local homeless mission. Bake cookies with your adult children, or for your neighbors or the children at church.
But most of all, have a grateful heart. There is always something to be thankful for. What is there to celebrate? Life! Take the time this holiday season to enjoy life. Stay tuned. . . .
I recently took a trip out-of-state to make amends with a family member that I have not gotten along with. We had a good talk. There were many things I learned about that family member – things that affected the way she responded to me and others. What I had thought was merely a foul disposition on her part was really a defensive reaction due to an incident in her past. What I didn’t know about her caused me to think poorly of her.
Like it or not, we are often victims of our past. As much as we try to get past the hurts and disappointments of our past, they still affect us. For example, if you want to piss me off real bad, real quick just blame me for something I didn’t do or didn’t have any control over. Ex did that all the time. His parents even blamed me for his actions! Really?! However, if someone didn’t know that about me and they blamed me for something, I would get angry very quickly. My defensiveness in turn would cause them to be defensive and the whole thing could spiral out of control from there.
My sister and her husband have learned to look beyond the initial anger, fear, or other negative emotion to ask what is really causing that emotion in the other person. Perhaps it is the result of a bad day at work, or something negative someone said to them earlier in the day. You never know where someone is coming from until you take the time to find out.
What you don’t know (about the person you are speaking to) can hurt you – and them as well. It’s hard in the midst of a disagreement to stop and say, “What’s really going on here?” Lashing out in anger is often a reaction to something else, like the frustration of having one’s goals blocked, or being misunderstood in communication, etc. The wise person is not the person who fights back, hoping to win the argument. The wise person is the one who takes the time to uncover the real issue, the real reason for the disagreement. When we take the time to deal with one another with grace and compassion, we will find that we get to know the other person and ourselves better. Stay tuned . . .