how to survive another holiday without your loved one…

 I won’t pretend.  It’s difficult.

Most of you know that I lost my little valentine on May 12, 2003.  Clay was my handicapped son that was 15 1/2 years old when he left my arms and began a NEW life in the arms of Jesus.

Holidays take on a new dimension when you have lost a loved one.  Sometimes I feel guilty about celebrating,  but then I remember that he is celebrating and would want his family to do the same.  You might feel overwhelmed on Valentines Day when every store you go into is bombarded with heart shaped boxes,  chocolate roses and other little reminders of love, but this day doesn’t have to be about mourning and sadness.

I am all for taking time out to grieve, but also take time to remember your loved one and celebrate his or her memory!  If it’s not ‘too heavy of an idea’, then maybe you could take time to pull out scrapbooks and photo albums and remember all the good times you had together.  Remind yourself how your valentine made you smile, and how he/she made you laugh.

But most of all……give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are feeling.  Are you sad?  Then go ahead and cry.  Allow yourself to feel sad or even vent, if you need to.  Don’t feel that you have to act a certain way so as not to upset others.

But also…..don’t forget the living!  Who has been left behind?  Do you have other children or family members?  Honor them!  Let them know that you haven’t forgotten them and remind them how important they are to you.  And please don’t compare yourself to others.  Everyone experiences grief differently.  Allow yourself to have some time of grief and then get back to your life.

“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it – because it does.” ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1 (The Message)