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Navigating the Holidays: Advent and Grief

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Advent starts next week and I wanted to start this advent season by talking about something you may not associate with the season: grief.

Wreath. Grieving during the holidays is hard. If you need to talk to someone, our caring therapists in Marietta, GA would love to help.

People try to understand grief, but unless they’ve experienced it themselves, they won’t. Until you go through your own grief, you will not understand others’ grief; and even then, everyone experiences grief differently and for different reasons. For me, grief has come in the passing of my mom. This December 5th, it will be two years without her. Two years of grieving the lack of her presence and two years since entering the “I’ve lost a loved one club”; a club I never wanted to be a part of and the club I belong to so well because it is only these club members who understand. They understand dreams being crushed to pieces, precious memories that will never happen, and waking up every day and longing for that person to return, if only for that day. You long for the wisdom and security and joy that person brought to your life. Your heart is never the same and because of that, you are never the same. It is a pain so deep and unbearable that you don’t know if it will ever relent. This grief comes and goes like sirens at the back of your mind at the most unexpected times and floods your entire being.

As the holidays approach, I wanted to provide some companionship to you and, honestly, some relief for me as I write these words.

Christmas lights. If you need help navigating grief this holiday season, please reach out to a caring therapist in Marietta, GA today.

I wish as a counselor that I could type up ten ways to get over grief or three practical tools to make it easier, but anything that I would come up with would be just a temporary solace and let’s be real - nothing will take this pain away. Will the intensity subside? Yes. Will it be as painful again? Sometimes, yes. Will I find myself again? Yes. Can you make this go away? No. As I go through my own grief, I would not want to take this pain away from you either, friend, because it is this pain that honors our loved ones.

It is the tears that are confetti in the heavens and lets them know that they were/are valuable to you and are deeply missed. When I lost my mom, my world shook and it felt as though the ground cracked open and my footing was no longer secured. Getting up was like dragging lead pipes called legs through the ground just so I could make it to the next thing, whether that meant to make it to my daughters room to get her dressed or to make it to work, it all felt the same: excruciatingly hard. Sometimes I would hide in my closet as tears poured down my face so that my husband and daughter would not see me, not because I was embarrassed or ashamed of the tears, but simply because I wanted a space to lose myself completely in this pain without questions. Just me and my anger towards God raging in a small space.

Will I Ever Not Be Angry With God?

I don’t know. I do know that I am not currently, but good grief! (see what I did there) Did I have to work hard at this! It seemed/felt so unfair to work so hard to maintain a close relationship with God when I was going through such pain. I also know that if I did not have Him to cling to, I had no place else to go because no one can hold my grief like He can. Nothing/no one could provide the comfort I needed so deeply but Him. No one could hold me as close, even when all the anger I had was burning towards Him. No being could be this good and faithful to me but Him. That’s what I found in this season and I hope you find it as well. I cling more to Him now than ever before because I know that, going through the fire, Jesus is The One I want next to me. Will it take work? Yes, the work will be to show up at His feet every day, whether that is lying on the ground weeping, just sitting next to Him, or telling Him to go away altogether. Show up as you are, as you feel, and He will be there. He will be there in a song, in the wind, in the tears, in the pain, in the Word. He will be there rushing in so close for He feels our pain too. He feels the aching, the breaking, and the tearing of our hearts. All He asks of us is to show up.

How Do You Deal With Grief During The Holidays?

You remember. You simply remember your loved one(s) and let the tears flow. You remember their favorite movie and watch it with your friends. You stop pretending that it does not hurt or that you do not feel sad any more. You get up knowing that it will be hard some days and that is ok. You say their name even though it will be awkward for some, knowing what you’ve gone through. You laugh/cry at memories of the past. You let yourself grieve, you let your heart ache, and you let your heart laugh again.

Christmas family. If you are grieving this holiday season and need to talk to someone, we would love to help.

Laugh at the thing they would have said or hated to do. You laugh at the thought of your mom being mad for not getting the dishes clean enough or being disgusted at your husband for eating a cookie off the floor. You laugh at the worries that seem the least important now that they are gone and enjoy the life that you currently have. We cannot bring them back but we CAN live out their legacy of strength, prayer, joy, and love. We CAN again begin to live the life that Jesus was born for us to have on Earth.

Begin Working With A Therapist in Marietta, GA

If you are experiencing grief this holiday season, you are not alone. Please consider reaching out to a qualified therapist. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to offer support with in-person and online services from our Marietta, GA-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

Other Services Offered at Remain Connected Counseling

Our team knows you may experience other issues in your life. This is why we are happy to offer a variety of services including teen therapyanxiety treatment, and EMDR therapy. In addition, we also offer life transitions therapy and depression counseling, and more all under a Christian counseling lens. By using online therapy, these services are available to anyone in Georgia. Learn more about our team of dedicated therapists and contact us for more information.

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