Healing with the holidays

AT RANDOM: Jennifer Smith shares words of comfort to help those struggling with grief during the Christmas season

A thousand words won’t bring you back, I know because I’ve tried; neither will a million tears, I know because I’ve cried – Anonymous

This time of year, while it seems the rest of the world is full of cheer and merriment, there are many whose holidays just aren’t as bright.

Whether it is a recent loss or one of years passed, the holidays can become one of the toughest times of the year.

This is a time when we are supposed to be with the ones we love, yet it is the ones we’ve lost that we yearn to be with most.

Memories of seasons spent with those passed renew a sense of personal grief and trigger sadness which often overshadows what is supposed to be a joyous time of year.

While tears and grief are inevitable, don’t let those memories go to waste.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

It helps to share your thoughts with a kind friend or family member who is willing to listen.

Or better yet, it is a great time to build on the memories you’ve made with a passed loved one.

Perhaps there was a special tradition that he/she enjoyed most at this time of year – uphold that tradition and keep it close for comfort during your time of sadness.

Like many families, Christmas has always been a special time of year for mine. With three of my grandparents no longer around to share the season with, feelings of sadness tend to creep into our holidays.

But I always recall how special this time of year was to each of them. It wasn’t the gifts, treats or abundance of food that made Christmas merry, it was the company.

Just being together was the best gift of all.

We cannot take the gift of time for granted.

Although hectic schedules can keep us from spending time with our loved ones, we should always try to make time to enjoy their company.

Because there is no time left to spend once they are gone.

That is the heartache most of us feel when we lose someone.

We wish for one last embrace, one last smile, one last ‘I love you.’

The sudden passing of a dear high school friend recently caused such regrets for my friends and I as we wished we would’ve kept better in touch with him.

But if any good can come of his passing, it is a lesson to us all to reach out and keep connected.

It has also made us truly appreciate what we do have – each other.

While many friends tend to part ways after high school, we have a solid little group that has kept connected. Despite all the petty drama between friends, and boyfriends, and in some cases even the distance of a thousand miles, nothing has weakened our bond.

I’m grateful every day for these friends, as well as the many others that I’ve managed to stay in touch with (many thanks to Facebook).

So as we all said one last goodbye to a special friend recently, our tears of sadness mixed with tears of joy to have each other.

Rest in peace little buddy, forever in our hearts you will remain.

If tears could build a stairway, and memories a lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

– Jennifer Smith is a reporter and photographer at The Morning Star. jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com