Grieving in the Holidays

I’ve grieved numerous times in my life. I cried when I lost grandparents. I was a mess when I lost two of my dogs in a span of two weeks because of an unknown virus. However, this year has been the most painful grieving I’ve ever done. As you may have already known, I lost my father to Covid-19 last September, and it was an experience that forever changed my life. Three months have passed and we are on to the last two days of 2020, but the pain is still so fresh in my mind. Someone so close has been abruptly taken from me, and I think I will never be able to get used to the fact that he is gone. Grief can be different for everyone, more so coping and living with it.

Grieving in the holidays has been a mix of sweet and bitter moments for me. There are days when I am genuinely happy and having fun. I don’t stop from greeting other people a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year”, and I am glad to accept their greetings and well wishes too. I’ve started seeing close friends again, albeit socially distanced and of course, following standard protocols. I’ve returned to doing my hobbies of painting, working out, and playing the piano again, and honestly I missed doing these things. But there are days when sadness just takes over. Christmas was especially hard. It was the one event when we all gathered together as a family and just enjoyed giving gifts and celebrating. Knowing that one member won’t be there to share the joy of the season is just painful. There are moments during the day when tears just flowed, and I don’t even bother stopping them. I’ve read somewhere that tears are not the enemy, but rather they are gifts from God to help us deal with the pain of loss. And indeed, crying helps relieve most of it. It’s difficult to be truly happy when you’ve lost someone so dear, and sometimes the heart just aches so bad for their presence.

Grieving in the holidays means just sitting in my Dad’s favorite spots around the house, watching his favorite TV shows, and imagining him passing by, probably cleaning as he usually did. Sometimes it is just looking at his pictures as often as I can, or browsing through videos on my phone where I can hear his voice just so I won’t forget it. It is teaching my niece to say the word “Papa”, and calling for him every Friday because that is his usual day to come home. It is also grieving for those who have lost loved ones like myself, and trying to empathize with them as best as I can. It is also being an available and ready listener any time during the day to friends who call because of anxiety.

Grief has taught me to be emotionally strong for people who need comfort and encouragement, and it made me a better cushion to those who are grieving as well. I never felt I was in the right position to offer words of condolences to children who have lost parents until I too, experienced losing one. I guess it is one of the good things about it. The lessons you get from life-altering challenges shape you in such a way to equip you to become emotionally better. My Dad’s death may have permanently punctuated the way I will be celebrating the succeeding milestones of my life, but it has also enabled me to become a more stable person mentally.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration tomorrow. Please take care of yourselves and your families, and I beg you to make good choices. Covid is here to stay, so please be careful always.

All my love,

Iva


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