The holiday season is quickly approaching (like, tomorrow) and it’s time to be surrounded by loved ones. For most, this season is expected to be filled with love and laughter but for others, it’s a bit more complicated.
The folks who represent the other side of “most” are those who will be showing up to the family dinner without his/her usual plus one. That plus one that everyone automatically adds to the guest list without even asking. That plus one that over the years had grown to be part of the family.
It’s not easy! Especially when it’s fresh and all you want to do is feel some sense of normalcy. But how can you when your ‘normal’ has had to take on a new shape? A shape that friends/family aren’t used to seeing. The ghost of holidays past is now the elephant in the room and your dreading that one question that will inevitably reopen fresh wounds:
“Where is ‘such-n-such’?”.
There ya go…a heaping dose of awkward and painful to help you wash down all that stuffing! YUM!
Sound like you? Here are 5 things to help you survive this holiday season:
1. Don’t retreat – GO! Yes, you know it will be unpleasant to be reminded of someone you probably miss. But regardless who ISN’T there, family/friends are vital to helping you through this tough time. You’re going to be ok.
2. Prepare yourself – Yes, they’ll ask that question. Yes, it will hurt to answer. But try not to be offended by it. Their intentions aren’t bad, to them…it’s just innocent curiosity.
3. Don’t lie but be vocal – This isn’t the time to start making things up! So, don’t let your Thanksgiving anxiety cash a check that you can’t cash in time for the Christmas dinner. Just be honest. “Things just didn’t work out” should suffice. If it doesn’t and the dreaded “what happened” follows, stand up for yourself and let them know that’s not what you came to talk about. A little tough love goes a long way.
4. Remember the reason you’re there – Remember you’re there to celebrate togetherness with the people who ARE there, not to dwell on the person who isn’t. Take this opportunity to appreciate the people you love!
5. BREATHE & PRAY – Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” So, PRAY about it! Nothing is too big or small for Him, even this get-together. He cares about what you care about! So, ask God for guidance. Ask him to give you grace with your words and peace in your heart! He knows just how much you can handle! Talk to Him, breathe with each blow, and again, know that you’re going to be ok.
Now, I’m no expert on this but I hope I’ve helped someone….starting with myself. Because in fact, (transparent moment) I am the girl I’m writing to. I’m dreading tomorrow. And to be honest, my bed sounds way more appetizing than subjecting myself to being reminded of who isn’t with me. But there’s no growth in hiding. There’s no victory in retreating. God’s got me, and I’m sure my readers to too, so if you have any more suggestions…send ’em on! I’d love to hear from you! Thanks in advance.