Seven years ago, Christmas marked the beginning of the end of my marriage. Ever since then I have struggled with the holiday season. It is a season of joy, family, giving and peace, but for me, it is also punctuated with feelings of loneliness, pain and thoughts of what "could have been." I love the holidays but I also find myself looking forward to January 2, when the pressures of the season dissipate.
I know I am not alone. There are many who have suffered loss in their lives and the holidays are often difficult for them.
This year I will try to give myself the gift of acceptance. The acceptance that the peace and anticipation of Christmas Eve will also likely bring me to a place of darkness; a place in which unpleasant memories come flooding back. The acceptance that the holidays do not have to be joyful all the time. I will try to give myself permission to feel those not so Christmas-y feelings and move through them. Because allowing yourself to feel is truly the only way to get to the other side.
I hope that if you find the holidays difficult as well, that you will give yourself permission to do what you need to do to take care of yourself.