Monday, December 5, 2011

When the Holidays aren't Happy



Pat Davids here,


I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season, but I know that for some people the holidays aren't a happy time. This year, I lost my husband, and I'm facing my first Christmas without him. I'm trying to keep a happy face on for my family. I spent way to much money on decorations and they abound in my home, but the heart of the holiday is missing, and I know I'm not alone in this.


All around the world, people have lost children, spouses, parents and dear friends. As we face holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, we are bombarded with images of happiness, families gathered together and searching out a present for that special someone in our lives. Many people, like me, will keep the television off to avoid the sappy, happy shows, but I can't go to the store or to work without being reminded that this is a joyous time of the year. Sometimes, I think I must be the only sad person on the planet. I know that's not true, but that's how it feels.


Last night, I was thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how she must have felt at the very first Christmas. Yes, she must have been overjoyed to have given birth to the Son of God, but how much trepidation must have tempered her joy. She knew, better than anyone, that her son would not lead a normal, happy life. Yet, because she accepted the burden God laid before her, I shall see my husband again when I go to stand before the Throne. I'm going to give that woman a big hug when I see her.


If you are suffering from a loss this holiday season, you have my deepest condolences. If you know someone who is facing a less than happy season, take a few minutes out of your day to give them a call. Don't ask, "How are you doing?" Most of us lie and say we're doing okay. Say, "I was thinking of you and how hard the holidays must be this year." Then, just listen. You will help more than you know by showing them you understand and you care.




20 comments:

Teresa said...

Understand and Care should be the new black among human relations.

But you're not alone in this. Some will turn on the tv so they can survive by going through other people's lives instead of dwelling in their own and many will show that happy and jolly attitude but inside who knows how many hurt and sorrow there might be...

Instead of "Come on, cheer up" "Think about the others when they realize your sadness"* people should offer the shoulder and ears to listen and try to - by listening - soothe a bit of the solitude and pain.

(* as if implying that our loss and pain is selfish. Well, it is. We're really alone - all for ourselves - there. Everyone is ready to jump the jolly wagon but the life one? Well, not so much)

I'm sorry for your loss, Pat.

Because the Holidays are Happy but you're not.
Because the Holidays will bring us the Savior - who will be born to be Great but also to endure great suffering.

Many Holidays will surely come and find you comfortable and treasuring the sweet memories of past Holidays.

Just not yet.

Take Care,
Teresa

Allie Pleiter said...

A church near us has a "Blue Christmas" service for hurting holiday souls, and I think it is such an important ministry. My prayers are with every home setting one less dinner plate this year.

Halo0912 said...

I just said a prayer for you. Your books have taken me out of my sad place many times this year - I lost my great love this year, not to death though. The last few months have been a struggle, and reading is the only way I can get away from it all for a while. Stories of love that can conquer all, love that has hope.

Anyway, in your own struggle, you have been a blessing to me - and that's made me realize that in my struggles, maybe I'm being a blessing to someone else right now - or maybe I should be if I'm not already.

May God bless and comfort you this Christmas. :)

Pat Davids said...

Allie,
I think a "Blue Christmas" service is a wonderful idea. I'll pass it along.
Pat

Pat Davids said...

Halo0912
I'm pleased that my books have taken you out of your sad place. Thank you for letting me know. Thanks, too, for the prayer. Your words are a blessing, indeed.

Elizabeth said...

I'm glad to hear that other people have to deal with sadness at the holidays. I know they do, but as you say, sometimes you feel so alone. I'm single, no siblings, and lost both my parents in 2007. I feel completely alone in the world and it is very hard all the time, but especially at the holidays. Everyone I work with has family/friends to spend the holidays with. To me, they're becoming just another day off from work, and I'm not happy that I'm feeling that way. I could sure benefit from that "Blue Christmas" service. That sounds like a wonderful idea!

Pat Davids said...

Elizabeth here is a hug for you. Yes, sometimes it feels as if we're alone even in the middle of a crowd. I hope you find a "Blue Christmas" service in your area and I pray you find someone who will make the holidays feel special again.

Lyn Cote said...

Holidays can be difficult. I like Allie's church's Blue Christmas. I'm going to mention this to our church pastors.

PamelaTracy said...

What a touching post. I agree, Blue Christmas is a must. Pat, we're all thinking of you.

Ausjenny said...

Pat I do feel for you and although I haven't been married and lost a husband I do know how the first Christmas was hard on mum (I was 11 when dad died) We had another widow invite us to share Christmas day and it was great and helped us all through the day.
Last year I was basically alone for Christmas as mum is in the nursing home and doesn't really care about Christmas and found the lead up really hard and it was because of the fact many forgot about the ones who are alone or had lost someone and it really got to me. The few days before the day were much better. I had people say get over it think of the real meaning which I was but its not that easy.
It was good that it happened as it gave me an appreciation for those who are lonely and have suffered a lose to make sure we remember not all are happy or have family. I also took our pastor to task about a comment he made about everyone having family and friends to celebrate with. It was at the town carols. I told him how the comment was the final straw that had me walking home in tears. I said all that was needed was a mention to remember those who would be lonely, or alone or had suffered a loss. He did admit he should have said that.

Elizabeth I feel for you also. It can be hard being alone. I find I remember the reason for Christmas and I just love the season and this year made sure I wouldn't be here. I will be in the city. Sometimes just having someone ask you to join them is enough to know you are thought of. (Hugs to you also)

Jackie S. said...

A church here has the Blue Christmas service also. I will be praying for you, Pat. Blessings~~~

Missy Tippens said...

Pat, such a thoughtful post that made me pause and remember to be sensitive. My friend and neighbor lost her husband this year, and I need to make sure to give her a call soon. Thanks for the reminder.

Pat, Halo and Elizabeth, I'll be thinking of all of you during this difficult time.

Missy Tippens said...

By the way, that photo of the little dog is absolutely precious.

Debra Clopton said...

Pat I'm thinking and praying for you, and for Halo and for you Elizabeth and you too Jenny. And for any others out here who may read this post and be feeling the loss of a loved one. This will be my 8th Christmas since I lost my husband Wayne and I understand your feelings well. I spent many nights huddled under a blanket sitting on the porch swing where Wayne and I spent our evenings discusing our day. It was one of the places that gave me comfort and peace when I was most low. I'm remarried now, have been for a year and am happy--though I never ever thought I'd even think about remarrying. So I can tell you that hope does return and your heart can reawaken. But even now I feel that ache for my dear lost love and know that one day I will see him again, just as I will see my Lord. Take comfort in knownig that God will guide you through. Like you Halo, I found comfort in reading love stories with a lighter feel...and I began writing my Mule Hollow series specifically to help others smile, who like me at the time needed help to smile since I couldn't do it on my own. I found comfort in writing stories that would help bring hope to others and that is what you've done with your inspiring, honest words in your post.

Elizabeth, I'll pray so hard that God will bring someone to you as he did for me. But I'll also pray that you'll find a place where you can serve, or get involved helping others in some way. This may not be for you but I know it helped me to push myself to get involved.

Jenny, I'm so glad you are getting out and changing things up.

I'm saying a prayer for those who need a Blue Christmas. Pat my heart is with you. Your post was special and you've used your pain to reach out to help others. I believe when we use our pain and loss in this way it is a lasting way of honoring the ones we have loved and lost. Thank you and thinking of all of you.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Pat, I pray for you often as each holiday comes around and will continue to do so.

The year my mother died was a tough one. But my church at the time helped me put together hospice pillows to donate in her memory. Sometimes actions seem louder than words when it comes to support.

Allie, I have known churches here that do Blue Christmas. Grief acknowledged is such a powerful thing.

Again, everyone grieving, you are in my prayers for comfort and peace this season.

peace, Julie

Pat Davids said...

I worried when I started to write this post that it wouldn't "fit" in the holiday theme of things. I'm glad now that I listened to the inner voice that said others are in the same boat and we need to acknowledge each other. I've had wonderful Christmas seasons in the past and I have faith that I'll have wonderful seasons in the future. It's okay that this one is blue. I'm entitled to feel that way and so are many, many other people.

But Deb is right. Helping others is the best way to forget about the scars and sorrow in our lives. Somewhere there is someone who needs us even if they don't know it. Let's not let them down.

pol said...

Thanks for writing about Christmas sometimes not so happy, missing loved ones is so hard, I hope as the days go by it gets better for you.
I am now reading your amish christmas story and love it. I like to read about the amish and their simpler lifestyle.
Paula O

Jennifer said...

I wish I could give you a hug! For now I'm praying that God gives you a hug from me to you.
jennydtipton@gmail.com

Jenna V said...

Thank you for this timely post. I lost my dear father earlier this year and as the holidays march along I find my steps out of sync with everyone else's. Yes, I am thankful he is no longer suffering, and I am thankful he was saved, but that doesn't help stem the ache in my heart. I think the idea of a "blue Christmas" service is wonderful and I think I will post it on my FB page and twitter as food for thought for other churches next year.

Pat Davids said...

Thanks, dear readers, for the hugs and prayers. I am forever grateful for your understanding. Those of you who have suffered a loss, I'm sending you a hug.