It’s amazing that at the end of each year, and especially during the holiday season, we will often exclaim, ‘I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by; can you believe it is Christmas already!’ And each year, especially during the Christmas holiday season, we begin to remember our loved ones who have transitioned from our lives in many ways, but especially because of death.
There is something about the Christmas holidays and the deaths of our loved ones that seem to have us much sadder, more depressed, more inhibited, more moody, more isolated, and more out of sorts than any other holiday, including the birthdays of our loved ones, Mother’s Day, and father’s Day. It has a lot to due with the festive occasion of the holiday season, as well as the longevity of the celebration of the holiday season. Christmas decorations are commercially placed in full view right after Halloween, and in some cases, just before Halloween. The festive celebration not only includes gifts, but grand feasts, wonderful scents, and songs with deep-seated emotions and memories.
It is those scents, foods, gifts, and songs that permeate deep within each of us to trigger the memories of our loved ones who have transitioned through death. And often, because there was an annual celebration for you and your family, it is no wonder that the Christmas holiday season is much more difficult for you to deal with the loss of your spouse, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your best friend, and especially your child. Isn’t it amazing that although you celebrated the holidays with your loved ones when they were alive, that it is very difficult for you to continue to do so after the death of your loved ones?
And no matter how many times you experience death among your loved ones, it is still a very difficult, and seemingly tragic experience. It is a phenomenon that has no explanation, no understanding, and no matter how many times you are faced with death you are never prepared. Death is never on your appointment book, and it is an appointment that will occur at an appointed time, that you and I must keep, just as those who have gone on before us. Ironically, as you have been late for many appointments during your lifetime, and you have missed a few, and cancelled just at many, you will not be late for your appointment with death; neither will you miss it or cancel it! However, if you live your life to its fullest and your loved ones live their lives to their fullest, every day will be or should be a day of celebration.
It’s amazing that we only seem to see the need to celebrate during the holiday season, on birthdays, anniversaries, and on other noted occasions. But we don’t seem to realize that everyday you open your eyes, take in and release breaths, talk, and walk, and perform other activities of daily living, are days worth celebrating. Think about it! Did you take time to celebrate life with your loved ones while they were here? Did you talk with them, speak to and with them, visit them, support them, help them when there was a need, and most of all, did you love them unconditionally? If you celebrate your loved ones while they are yet alive, there will be no question that you will be in line to celebrate them once they transition. The same goes for you. If you take time everyday to celebrate your life (not just materially), it will be much easier for your loved ones to celebrate you and your life, once your appointed transition time has arrived.
A celebration of life is filled with love, honor, respect, care, kindness, regard, understanding and acceptance. If these characteristics are put forth during life, there will be less guilt once life is over. There is nothing wrong with being sad when your loved ones transition from this life, and there is nothing wrong with missing your loved ones on a daily basis. However, it is imperative that you begin to attend to how you celebrate those you claim to love, in life, and for their life. It is important that you begin to count your blessings each and everyday for the loved ones who have graced your life with their presence. Celebrations in life will most certainly make it much easier for you to behold the death of your loved ones and deal with them during the holidays as celebrations of life!
I am the youngest of fourteen children, born to the same mother and same father. I discovered my father dead when I was the tender age of ten, and I lost my mother at the age of twenty-seven, and my grandmother at the age of fifteen. Of my thirteen sisters and brothers, there are only four remaining, for a total of five out of the fourteen still living. I have lost best friends, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and two surrogate godmothers in the past year, one as recent as this past Wednesday. However, although I experience pain and grief because of the loss of these wonderful and extremely meaningful loved ones, I learned early in life to celebrate their lives while I had them in mine. As a result, although I miss them immensely, and at times I might feel a little sad (not for long), I am exuberant and thankful to God that I had them in my life.
I count the blessings afforded me by my loved ones who have transitioned this life. I can laugh about the laughs we had, I can joke about the funny things that they did, as well as the funny things we did together. I can go back down memory lane and view the many photographs, with love, happiness, and admiration…that’s how I looked at them and saw them when they were still on this side of life, with love, happiness, and admiration.
In addition, you can celebrate the life of your loved ones who have transitioned by leaving an empty chair to commemorate their spiritual presence at the dinner table. Have every guest to engage in a celebration of live activity with you and your family by jotting down three to five great memories they have to share about your transitioned loved one. The rule is, although some in attendance might feel sad and shed a tear or two, they must share memories of laughter and happiness, allowing them to laugh and shine through their sadness and tears.
I can truly say, that because I celebrated the lives of my loved ones who have transitioned this life, I can stand firm and tall and engage in a celebration of their lives during the holiday season. The same love I had for them, shared with them, and displayed to and with them during life, still exists within my heart for them, after life! I celebrated their lives and I continue to celebrate the fact that they lived! You can learn to do the same. Take a stand, take some time to reach out and call, touch, and celebrate the lives of your loved ones while you still have a chance! Pick up the phone, face time, Skype, but reach out! You never know whether this holiday season will be your last holiday season with your loved ones. And if it is, how will you spend the next holiday season; will it be in celebration or one with deep mourning, guilt, and depression? Only you can decide. I challenge you to join in celebrating life with your loved ones so that when the time comes, it won’t be difficult for you to engage in a celebration of life!
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