When Grief Hits Hard During the Holidays`

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My sister sent me a picture of Claxton fruit cakes today. Neither of us actually like fruit cakes but my grandpa LOVED them. My maternal grandfather passed away in 2015 while my husband and I were in Australia en route to come to Papua New Guinea. This made attending his funeral difficult as we had just left the US. He passed away in April, but I found that I did not actually process his death until December of that year. It was our first Christmas in PNG, just our second Christmas as a married couple; and out of nowhere I felt soooo homesick. As someone who has travelled a lot, I do not actually find myself feeling home sick often. I love my family and treasure times with them, but it is not often that the deep pain of being separated by oceans really hits me. That hot, sticky Christmas it hit me; and it hit me hard! I remember crying and not even being sure why I was crying. Later it dawned on me that part of the reason I was feeling so homesick was that we would often spend Christmas in sandy Florida where my grandparents lived. 

I finally realized that part of my homesickness was me finally coming to terms with the fact that my grandpa was no longer on this earth, and a Christmas at his house would never happen again like they had for so many years. This realization has helped me be more intentional about celebrating future Christmases knowing that these extra emotions are now attached to Christmas. For me, Christmas has now become a natural time when I remember my grandpa and his love for a good fruit cake (if there is such a thing).

Is there someone you are missing this Christmas? Do parts of this holiday season feel extra hard? Let’s encourage each other with our stories as we hold the good and the hard this holiday season.

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