My son's birthday is Halloween and we often have had a wonderful time carving pumpkins. His girlfriend of three years, Jessie, is seen here carving her pumpkin. I loved her delighted smile in this picture - her last Halloween. Jessie's birthday is December 11. The holidays from Labor Day (the weekend Jessie died), Halloween, and through Christmas are particularly difficult. What can we do to cope through the holidays and birthdays, yet begin to celebrate and find joy as we move forward?
We have done various remembrances - a simple toast on an anniversary, acknowledging a donation to a charity in Jessie's name, giving gifts that she would have liked or that remind us of her spiritual presence in our lives. Sometimes we are specific in our words and at other times we mention loved ones who are with us in spirit.
We have met and are grateful for coming to know people we wouldn't have, had it not been for this loss. This sentiment is expressed in one of the Rays of Hope poems:
For our loss has brought new hearts to us that help our spirits rise;
The love that's shared between us is a mighty pleasant surprise.
During this holiday season, remember that sometimes we have to adjust our hopes in order to accept life's difficult losses and changes. As I wrote in my Christmas poem this year:
Some loved ones are with us now only in spirit,
And they, too, give us hope; we just have to hear it.
Our best to you in finding holiday cheer,
You're loved, and to us you'll always be dear.