Colors symbolize so many things. For example, red is a color of power and it also represents anger. Blue represents grief and sadness. Green represents growth and progression. When I think of the season I can identify with all of these zones if you will. This holiday season encompasses a range of celebrations and heartbreaks; it’s the season to be jolly, Jesus is the Reason for the Season, families are nostalgic about great times and unhappy times, families are separated due to Covid-19 so there you have loneliness and perhaps depression. There is an array of emotions felt this season. Honestly, each holiday year has its share of good and bad feelings, but this year the pandemic has added more strife to the spirit of the season. So, that is why we have to keep in mind what John 16:33 says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
This is the fourth Christmas that we will celebrate without my husband. I recall Christmas 2017, my husband had been deceased for 12 days and I woke up in so much pain. I couldn’t hold my head up as I watched my girls open their gifts. My feelings included sadness, frustration, anxiety, depression, stress, pain, hurt, devastation, confusion, weakness, just to name a few. I couldn’t see clearly how I was to make it through the day, but I did. Christmas 2018, I was a grinch because I missed my husband so much and I couldn’t stop thinking about what was supposed to be, what I was missing, why he wasn’t there. There was a void and I didn’t want to prepare for the season alone so I DECIDED I would remain in a spirit of sadness and internalize my feelings and let hurt take over. My heart was hurt. I couldn’t understand how God would allow something so tragic to tear my family a part after we built so much together. Christmas 2019, I didn’t have a Christmas tree because I put it on the street. Christmas 2019 I had decided I would remember the true spirit of Christmas, Jesus Christ. I tried my best. Unfortunately, I didn’t purchase a tree until two weeks before Christmas and I had gotten so emotionally drained that I settled for bare minimum decor. Abruptly, I booked flights to NYC and we spent Christmas there and I do not regret the decision. It is what I needed, although my oldest daughter did not agree with the surprise. She is in agreement now, but wants to be informed ahead of time because she enjoys spending holidays with the family. As time has progressed, I am finding peace and calmness in each day. Christmas 2020, looks more like Christmas 2016 when my husband was here with me. My spirit is happy and joyful. I want to live life on purpose. I want to get back to my cheerful spirited self. I want to make magical memories with my girls and that is what this season has been filled with. We have explored light shows, Christmas festivities, baking, giving through our foundation, tuning in to our church services with OUR WHOLE HEART!!! I am so thankful for the work that has gone forth in order to finally get to this point. It has been a painful and unpredictable journey navigating through grief. I have had to make a lot of tough decisions that has required much more emotional and physical strength than someone who has not ever experienced tragedy. At this moment in life, I am grateful in all things.
There are a few tools that we carry in our grief tool kit in order to cope during this season and throughout the year that I want to share with you all. 1. Therapy, it is important to seek therapy as needed because grief is sneaky. You may think you are feeling mentally healthy and suddenly there is an explosion. It is important to keep a pulse of your mental health and one of the best ways that I find helpful is to talk it out. It’s kind of like physical exercise, you know, you go to the gym and workout and you build your strength. Same with your mental health, go see a therapist and talk it out and build your mental strength. You may feel like superwoman/man, but there are days when even the superhero has to recharge. 2. Prayer and praise, connect with a bible believing church. It is fuel to the soul and helps impart hope where there is despair, assures you of your eternity, reminds you of your purpose for living and helps you become intentional again in your life. 3. Journal your thoughts. 4. Color in an art therapy journal. 5. Dance to your favorite trap music. Set yourself free. Just let it go. 6. Have an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings. Don’t waste time focusing on what’s missing and neglect the things that are before you. If you aren’t careful you will paralyze your thoughts doing this and what’s in your mind gets to your heart and flows to your actions. 7. Use your support system. One of the hardest things for me because I am used to my husband and me figuring everything out. I have a bit of pride and I don’t like bothering folk (except for my parents), asking folk to do things for me for SO MANY REASONS. 8. Remember life is not over. There is still life inside of you.
RED CHRISTMAS. BLUE SKIES. GREEN HEART. You get to choose between anger and gladness. You get to choose between sadness and joy. You get to choose between halting and progressing. Ultimately, it is your decisions. As painful as it may be, you get to make the decision. Choose wisely.